Report on Yiwu, China Show

by John Chester, Wild Apple

A few art publishers attended the China Art & Frame Expo (Cafexpo) in Yiwu, China last week (Lonnie Lemco of World Art Group, Monique Van den Hurk of May, and myself).  Having been there about 8 years ago, I was expecting a ton of copyright problems.  So I’m happy to report that it was not nearly as bad as expected.

There were a few exceptions, of course.  The champion infringer of the show was a company called Picture Art.  As far as I can tell, every image on the wall and every image in their catalogue is from European and North American art publishers.  Picture Art offers all of our images as POD giclees, meaning they have high res files of our images.  Where did they get the files?  It turns out there is a website “selling” high res files of published images from our companies.  It is all in Chinese, so it’s hard for us to search for our images – but our translator easily found images from our ranges through simple searching.  Our hypothesis is that the website is buying physical posters from an online store and then scanning them and offering the scans for sale.  Picture Art said that once they choose images to “buy”, the website company puts the files on a CD and sends it to them.  Massively infuriating.  This particular website is connected to a large global company, so we may be able to apply political and legal pressure on them to remove the copied images – if so, I’ll be sure to report it in this blog.

We met with show officials, who were somewhat helpful. They went with us to the Picture Art booth and made them take down some of the images where we could show we had them in our catalogues.  They were non-committal about whether Picture Art would be kicked out of the show.  We think we have some leverage over the show, in that the show prominently advertises that it is a member of Professional Picture Framing Association (PPFA) and Fine Art Trade Guild (FATG).  We are making it clear that if Cafexpo does not kick out this infringer, we will put pressure on PPFA and FATG to dis-bar Cafexpo.

That was the first of two trips to China this fall.  I can’t believe that in a month we’ll be headed to Guangzhou for the Canton Fair and the Jinhan Fair.

©rush the ©opies!!