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Media The Almighty Buck

The Unauthorized State-Owned Chinese Disneyland 746

rmnoon writes "Apparently Japanese TV and bloggers have just discovered Disney's theme park in China, where young children can be part of the Magic Kingdom and interact with their favorite characters (like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and the Seven Dwarfs). The park's slogan is 'Because Disneyland is Too Far,' and there's even an Epcot-like dome. The only problem? Disney didn't build it, and they didn't authorize it. What's more? It's state-owned!"
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The Unauthorized State-Owned Chinese Disneyland

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  • *smack*! (Score:5, Funny)

    by pak9rabid ( 1011935 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:38AM (#18983835)
    Take that Eisner!
    • Re:*smack*! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by OECD ( 639690 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:50AM (#18983925) Journal

      Take that Eisner!

      Yeah, funny, but the copyright maximalists have just gotten another arrow in their quiver.

      • Re:*smack*! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Grave ( 8234 ) <awalbert88&hotmail,com> on Friday May 04, 2007 @02:25AM (#18984507)
        I find it ironic that copyright law was getting so much attention recently because of the AACS key being posted everywhere, and now we see this. While I am against the current length of copyright, this sort of blatant infringement (especially of newer characters such as Shrek) is outrageous. It has been known and understood for years that China doesn't care about IP laws, whether it is patents or copyrights. Many cars and trucks sold in China (by Chinese companies) are copies of Hyundai, Toyota, or GM designs. When I say copies, I don't just mean visually; many times the parts for the Chinese model of a vehicle can be interchanged with those for the original design. It's disgusting how much the WTO has allowed China to get away with. If this story ever makes it to the mainstream press in the United States, I suspect it might actually cause a significant outcry by the public.

        At some point, the people of this country will begin to recognize the true costs of doing business with China.
        • Re:*smack*! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by MACC ( 21597 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:28AM (#18984803)
          The US completely ignored copyright from other countries
          up into the 60ties.

          Post war japanese companies copied like mad, you could
          cross use spares.

          Disney themselves stole most of their stuff from other countries

          • I believe Oxford owns the copyright to the King James Version. America pretty much ignored that and it is in the public domain in this country. That would probably be the biggest IP disrespect in the history of mankind.

            I think IP respect between countries is necessary for economic ties between countries and for the greater good, but a country doesn't have to abide by another country's laws if they don't want to. However, agreeing to being in the WTO may change responsibilities.

            The WTO did not exist in the 1
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by dark-br ( 473115 )
            Yeah, you can even check the Lion King - Kimba ripoff... [kimbawlion.com]

          • Re:*smack*! (Score:5, Interesting)

            by kaizokuace ( 1082079 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @05:40AM (#18985519)
            not just fairy tales. The Lion King is ripped from Osamu Tezuka's Jungle Taitei aka Kimba the white lion. If you check it out they took pretty much every shot (especially the pride rock) also they changed it from his evil aunt to evil uncle and from mother to father dieing and bam! they call it original. In 2002 or 03 there was an asian film festival in Ontario, Canada i believe, and they were going to show Jungle Taitei and Disney sued them or tried to stop them with some severe act of some kind. Talk about cover ups!
        • Re:*smack*! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by shoemilk ( 1008173 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @04:51AM (#18985245) Journal
          I live in Japan, and I saw this story on the news a couple of days ago. The most interesting thing was they asked an employee at the park what she thought about copying Disney Hong Kong and her response was "They copied us." It wouldn't surprise me if that isn't the official required response...
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sulimma ( 796805 )
          > It has been known and understood for years that China doesn't care about IP laws Of cause they do not care about your laws. They are a country for gods sake. They can come up with their own laws. The only concern here are international treaties. While I agree that all countries should adhere to these treaties, I would like to point out that china breaks other international treaties that are far more important. (Various human rights issues for example). But at least China does not claim to be the best
        • Re:*smack*! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by witte ( 681163 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @06:43AM (#18985815)
          You may not understand how world works in reality.
          Laws and trade agreements are a result of geopolitical, economical and military power over other nations. China doesn't fear retaliation from US or other countries, so they pretty much do as they please.
          Good for them. Not so good for us.

          (Of course, I may not have gotten your joke, if it was one.)
      • Re:*smack*! (Score:5, Funny)

        by arivanov ( 12034 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @02:25AM (#18984511) Homepage
        Arrow? Ya gotta be kidding, if it is in the name of the mouse it will more likely end up being an ICBM.
    • by Itchyeyes ( 908311 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:30AM (#18984231) Homepage
      I don't know what to do when standard anti-socialism and anti-IP /. dogma clash. Who's side are we supposed to be on on this one.
      • Re:I'm confused (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (bob_eissua)> on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:52AM (#18984349) Journal
        Who's side are we supposed to be on on this one.

        China hasn't been socialist since their 1978 reforms. Disney hasn't been capitalist (in the sense of participating in a free market economy) since they bought the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act in 1998, and probably weren't before then.

        If you're on the side of capitalism, support China. If you agree with Disney's destruction of the public domain, support them.

        • Re:I'm confused (Score:5, Insightful)

          by westyx ( 95706 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @02:06AM (#18984423)
          And if you think both are wrong and that the world is not made up of binary issues, support neither.
          • Re:I'm confused (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Lemmy Caution ( 8378 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:48AM (#18984921) Homepage
            Sometimes, you have to take a side. Backing up one side or another on this issue doesn't make you back them up on all issues: supporting Disney's IP doesn't mean you like their labor practices, or, supporting cultural appropriation and re-use on China's behalf doesn't mean you like their foreign policy.

            But there is a substantive issue here, and it makes no sense to try to squirm out of it.

            My view? The first world has mass-exported so much cultural material - Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, The USS Enterprise, Darth Vader, Batman - characters that have become embedded in our subconscious and become part of the fabric of mass culture itself - that I think it is only natural that it will break the boundaries of intellectual property, particularly in the peripheries outside the first world, where representations and images flow with a different logic entirely. What is really sad, actually, is that in Latin America, you see craftspeople making (illegal) ceramic and knitted versions of branded merchandise. The sad this isn't that - the sad thing is that, because they don't feel intimidated by IP law, that they are really being more creative/productive and original than people who merely consume "officially licensed" merchandise.
  • by luchaugh ( 860384 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:38AM (#18983841)
    Today, Disney. Tomorrow, GM. Get used to it.
    • Re:Get used to it (Score:5, Informative)

      by Whiney Mac Fanboy ( 963289 ) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:49AM (#18983915) Homepage Journal
      Today, Disney. Tomorrow, GM.

      Errr, you meant: Today, Disney. Today [wikipedia.org] GM. China's been accused of 'Auto Piracy' already.

      Get used to it

      • Re:Get used to it (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jarjarthejedi ( 996957 ) <christianpinch@NOsPAM.gmail.com> on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:55AM (#18983973) Journal
        Err I think you means Today, Disney. Today, GM. Today, Microsoft. Today, IBM. Today, Medical Drugs. Today, everything but the kitchen sink. Tomorrow, the kitchen sink...
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by anagama ( 611277 )
        As long as they repeat GM's unprofitability [spokesmanreview.com], the world has nothing to fear.
    • Actually I hope you're already used to it. GM already lost a case - several years ago - where a Chinese manufacturer ripped off, bolt-for-bolt, panel-for-panel, an entire car and then released it to market BEFORE GM did! Brazen as hell. Toyota has also had problems in China for theft and such. I think when foreigners wake up to the fact that there's not really that much money to be made in China they might not be so enthusiastic about jumping in. For instance, huge numbers of cars are made over there,
    • Get used to it.
      Nothing a good, structured tax/tariff structure can't correct with regards to allowing shoddy imports to undercut quality. The idea is to reverse the damage done by that region of the world to our domestic industries (who seem to have done better in terms of quality when allowed to build domestic). Just enough that companies get the hint not to use countries like Mexico and regions of the world such as Asia to undercut domestic labor- which would be used as a retraining fund.

      Today, Disney. To
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Opportunist ( 166417 )
        Certainly you cannot expect quality for a place like China.

        Erh... you DO know that something quite similar was said about Japanese electronics about 40 years ago, yes?

        First you copy, then you improve, then you take over the market because you're better AND cheaper.
  • Just goes to show.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ModernGeek ( 601932 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:40AM (#18983859)
    ..that the war between China and the United States is more of a legislative and economic one fought with dollars and cents. China and the Taliban don't need to take us by force, they simply need to take over our economy. China by manufacturing and selling unauthorized patented and copywritten equipment and now theme parks. We do all of the research and development, and they sell it at cost with no reimbursement, thus destroying our system of innovation, and allowing them to turn the world back into the stone age. The Taliban will take us by causing us to put all of our tax payers dollars into ammo.
    • by Whiney Mac Fanboy ( 963289 ) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:52AM (#18983949) Homepage Journal
      We do all of the research and development, and they sell it at cost with no reimbursement, thus destroying our system of innovation,

      Don't worry, the US did exactly the same thing in its infancy, ignoring European patents & copyrights at the govt level.

      As soon as it became in the elite's interests to protect patents, copyright, etc, they were protected - the protections have become stronger & stronger over the years.

      The same thing will happen in China. Get over it.
      • by mrbluze ( 1034940 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @02:04AM (#18984415) Journal

        The same thing will happen in China. Get over it.

        Oh no, we mustn't get over it. Sackcloth and ashes everyone!

        It's very important that we complain and moan about China, because we need someone to blame for the coming fall in living standards in the US. We also need to be painfully aware and forever complaining about other people's social problems so that we can be in continual denial about the ones that exist at our own doorstep.

        It's in our local elitist's interests that we are unaware of the problems that they cause.

    • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:58AM (#18983991) Homepage
      Why is Disney now part of the United States? There are more disneylands around the world than here. They sell more worldwide than in the US. They're an international conglomerate that profits people in many, many countries and many areas.

      It's like Ikea. Ikea may have started in Finland, but they employ and enrich a heck of a lot of Americans. Toyota might have started in japan, but the US would take quite a hit if they suddenly wholesale pulled out of here.

      The world is not a bunch of governments ruling over these little corporations who spread their tentrils forth for the motherland. Companies superceed governments. Sony exists as much in England and Europe as Japan, and does as much R&D around the world as in their original country. Sega was started by an American in Japan, and whose japanese-sounding name is actually an abbreviation for SErvice and GAmes. We think of Burger King as an amercan company because it started here. In Thailand, they think of Burger King as a Thai company, because the people who work there are Thai, the people who eat there are Thai, the people who make the Thai commercials for Burger King are Thai. Any given piece of electronics is likely to have bits designed in the US, EU, China, India, and many other places.

      Companies are not part of a government. They are their own entities in a parallel system.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Actually, IKEA is Swedish, started in Älmhult [google.com].
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04, 2007 @02:35AM (#18984555)

        It's like Ikea. Ikea may have started in Finland, but they employ and enrich a heck of a lot of Americans.
        No! no! It started in Småland which is the capital of Scandinavia. Finland is the second largest city of Switzerland.
    • MOD PARENT UP (Score:5, Interesting)

      by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:18AM (#18984119) Journal
      OBL has openly written that they are out to destroy our economy. He wants us in the same boat that Russia was. So far, W. is helping him out.

      As to China, they are trying to position themselves to own the world economy and then control countries in manners that they see fit(a MUCH larger USA with a nastier attitude). It is not the stealing of ideas that is doing this. It is the fact that they have tied their money to our money at a fixed rate. If it was allowed to float, then it would have increased in a big way by now. Others have dredged up the typical neo-con argument that this helps the economy. And for a short-term, they are correct. But it destroys the manufacturing (read tax) base. Another argument is that China holds a huge amount of our cash. And they will laugh if it falls, so long as they are in control. In the past, America had large natural resources to fall in during those times. Not anymore. What this means is that when China wants to pull the rug on us, they will be in control. And that is going to happen in about another 15 years (or less).

      W.'s going to argue about the copyright and patents is almost akin to chargin Charlie Manson with litter AND making a big deal of it. It totally ignores the real problems.
      • Probably not.... (Score:3, Interesting)

        What this means is that when China wants to pull the rug on us, they will be in control. And that is going to happen in about another 15 years (or less).

        I doubt it. If there is one good thing that king jr has done in his utterly fucked up administration, is convice the world at large that we are armed and irrational. While china COULD try to screw over the reigning military superpower, is it really wise to poke a stick at the mad dog with all the nukes and carriers? 15 years from now, we might be poor
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by drgonzo59 ( 747139 )
          The minute we start throwing nukes at China because they stopped making our pink sunglasses with hello kitty on them, we will get nukes coming from Russia and forget about any support from Europe. By the way, China has nukes as well and can zap our satellites with lasers. Do you really think they will be a winner when it all ends?

          Or you actually meant that we are quite "sane" and it is only the Chinese who __think__ we are crazy... It seems you underestimate them too much. We are on the piedestal in front

  • Just Discovered? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nexx ( 75873 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:41AM (#18983863)
    Here's a picture [bbc.co.uk] from 10 April. Look at #2.
  • Fun Rides (Score:5, Funny)

    by MrSteveSD ( 801820 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:42AM (#18983869)
    I've heard the Tiananmen Square Tank-Dodgems are really popular, although I think most children go to see the big cuddly cat, Chairman Meow.
  • by krotkruton ( 967718 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:43AM (#18983873)
    Considering Disney has made a big deal about people getting tattoos of Disney characters, I can't imagine this will go over well. Actually, I didn't really believe it until I saw a couple other sources.
    • by interiot ( 50685 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:53AM (#18983957) Homepage
      I don't think you understand. China is a country. A large one. Disney is a company, one whose wishes are only enforced because some countries (eg. U.S., European countries) have agreed to use their police and border guards to enforce Disney's wishes. Clearly China doesn't agree to use its police/border guards in that way, and unless a small company has a remote chance of taking on a large country (be it economically or militarily), Disney really doesn't have much say in the matter. (granted, futuristic SciFi novels about corporations having more power than countries are interesting to read, but we're not there yet)
      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:18AM (#18984123)
        Of course, the US government is more or less controlled by companies, including Disney. Thus the WTO complaint mentioned in the article. It'll be interesting to see if the US government is willing to actually do anything serious over this though.
  • too funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chitselb ( 25940 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:45AM (#18983887) Homepage
    Last time I checked, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves was in Grimm's Fairy Tales, a compilation of European folk stories that existed long before Walt Disney or copyright/trademark laws. As the dad of three, it bugs me more than a little when Disney Inc attempts to own childhood fantasy and retroactively copyright/trademark/turn-into-disney-IP all kinds of things that were part of the childhood psyche-scape long before Uncle Walt was even born.
    • Re:too funny (Score:4, Insightful)

      by zakezuke ( 229119 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:56AM (#18983975)

      Last time I checked, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves was in Grimm's Fairy Tales, a compilation of European folk stories that existed long before Walt Disney or copyright/trademark laws. As the dad of three, it bugs me more than a little when Disney Inc attempts to own childhood fantasy and retroactively copyright/trademark/turn-into-disney-IP all kinds of things that were part of the childhood psyche-scape long before Uncle Walt was even born.
      I think the problem is the fact that they took disneyland/disneyworld's magical kingdom and copied the characters pretty close to verbatim. The story may be public domain, but artistic renderings are different.

      What is disturbing is the fact that that Disney released this film in 1937, and good old walt died in December 1966. Some of their earlier would should be in the public domain by now if the copyright law wasn't extended.

      • Re:too funny (Score:5, Interesting)

        by femto ( 459605 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @02:19AM (#18984479) Homepage

        Remember that the term of copyright was only extended in the US. In China the protection term [wikisource.org] is still life+50years for personally owned works or 50 years since publication for companies. The film is public domain in China. (Incidentally a film published in 1937 is also public domain [copyright.org.au] in Australia.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by IP_Troll ( 1097511 )
        China's Copyright term is 50 years from publication (for corporations) or life of the author plus fifty years.

        China's Copyright Law - Article 21. http://www.sipo.gov.cn/sipo_English/flfg/xgflfg/t2 0020416_34754.htm [sipo.gov.cn]

        EU and American copyright laws only apply within the borders of those nations and no international treaty requires a term of more than 50 years for copyright. Therefore the CTEA aka Sono Bono Copyright Act aka Mickey Mouse Protection Act, are irrelevant in China.

        The characters (mickey m
  • by miracle69 ( 34841 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @12:50AM (#18983931)
    In America, Disney owns the government. In Soviet China, the government owns Disney!!!

    Or something like that.
  • by TyrWanJo ( 1026462 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:00AM (#18984001)
    This is an interesting expression of the saturation of global culture, and how, despite the perceived barriers between easter and western societies, these gaps are slowly dissolving. What i find most interesting is that, as far as i can tell, the park is so popular - legal issues aside, this does imply within the Chinese population some tension between the west and the east has been eased. Although this is perhaps not the best place to find shared cultural values, it is a start, and i think it would do well for Disney not to castigate the government of China, but rather try to reach some sort of compromise or understanding. Unfortunately, being that they are a corporation, it is unlikely that they will see anything but a lawsuit. One can hope, but that hope is likely misplaced.
  • Okay... (Score:5, Funny)

    by EvanED ( 569694 ) <evaned@NOspAM.gmail.com> on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:04AM (#18984017)
    So, I've heard of bootleg DVDs, bootleg CDs, bootleg Rolex watches... but I think this has to be the world's first bootleg amusement park!
  • by viking80 ( 697716 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:09AM (#18984063) Journal
    For how long should disney really have monopoly on Winnie the Pooh for example.

    I think it is time that the copyrights from 1920 or so expire for the enjoyment of all.
    • I think it is time that the copyrights from 1920 or so expire for the enjoyment of all.

      Yeah, not bloody likely. Disney is the reason no copyright will ever expire again. Since they have "property" that would expire once the latest copyright extension they purchased rolls around, they have no choice but to purchase another one.

      And why should these things expire? Since it's your "intellectual property", shouldn't it be yours forever? And when "you" are a company, "forever" can actually mean forever.
  • Makes sense to me... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by i_like_spam ( 874080 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:17AM (#18984109) Journal
    I bet the government built the fake Disney as a way to avoid further international embarrasment related to overcrowding at the real China Disney [hongkongdisneyland.com] in Hong Kong.

    The crowds swelled beyond belief during the Chinese New Year in 2006. Parents were so distraught that they started throwing their kids over the entry gates [local6.com]. There were some hilarious videos of this floating around out there. Can anyone find a link?
  • IP-based economies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fractal Dice ( 696349 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @01:37AM (#18984271) Journal
    My feeling is that any economy built upon intellectual property is a house of cards. Sooner or later, someone just decides not to play. They simply declare themselves as rich as you are. It's like a bubble market: it only has value as long as everyone buys into the delusion that it has value ... then it goes "pop!". If a country with all the manufacturing infrastructure and a country with all the legal IP rights to that tech have a conflict, is there really any doubt who wins?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sane? ( 179855 )

      Distraction: a book by Bruce Sterling.

      Details a US that suffers greatly when far east countries simply cancel 'intellectual property' and copy the hell out of anything and everything. Sure you can try import bans, but with their goods being even cheaper than before, since no IP tax to pay, who worldwide would bother about the US feelings? Despite what many in the US seem to think, its only a small percentage of the world market anyway (only 22.7% of china's exports go to the US). Goods are smuggled in, com

  • by nanosquid ( 1074949 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @02:01AM (#18984399)
    There is nothing legally wrong with the Chinese government doing this; they're a sovereign country, they get to decide how much copyright and trademark law they want to have. Now, the US government can say "poor ol' Disney is suffering, we'd like you to stop this, so let's make a deal". But arguments like "it's not right" aren't going to be very convincing.

    They're particularly unconvincing given that, by all rights, Mickey Mouse ought to be in the public domain by now. Other nations can have completely reasonable copyright terms and Mickey Mouse would still be in the public domain. It's the US that's unusual and unreasonable by having protected Mickey Mouse for another couple of decades through the Sonny Bono copyright extension act.

    The public domain and limited copyright terms, two basic American rights, have been under attack in the US for the past century, and they have been replaced, effectively, with unlimited ownership of intellectual property. That's the real problem we need to address because that's what's really un-American.
  • by flyingfsck ( 986395 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @02:03AM (#18984413)
    Hmm, most Disney characters are based on stories that have been in the public domain for centuries and the ones they did invent, should have been in the public domain decades ago.
  • Actually... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by henrypijames ( 669281 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @02:36AM (#18984561) Homepage
    The Shijinshan Amusement Park was built more than 20 years ago. Not sure if the PRC has established diplomatic ties with USA yet, yet alone intellectual property treaties. Also, twenty years ago there was practically not such thing as "intellectual property" in China (ah, the good old days). There was a very famous brand of candy from Shanghai named "Mickymouse", with Disney's Mickymouse as its logo. Later, when China opened its market to the West, Disney realized that in China, the "Mickymouse" trademark was legally owned by the candy factory, so it paid big money and brought it back. It was reported in the newspaper that many Chinese children cried that day as their beloved "Mickymouse" candy was no more (oh, the evil Americans)...
  • by Bueller_007 ( 535588 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @02:43AM (#18984597)
    Here's the official English web page for the park:
    http://www.bs-amusement-park.com/ChinaIn/about-e.a sp [bs-amusement-park.com]

    To be honest, it wouldn't have been to hard to "discover" the park. It's connected to the Beijing subway, it's been open since 1986, and it's rated as a AAAA tourist attraction.

  • by MaWeiTao ( 908546 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @03:02AM (#18984685)
    When I was living in Taiwan, which isn't China but it's close enough, I encountered this sort of thing constantly. It permeates Chinese culture in ways few can imagine. Hell, I think it's just a fact of life all throughout Asia, it's almost the same in Korea, and common Japan, although it's a little more subtle there. It really is just a way of life.

    Some shop opens up somewhere selling a particular kind of desert and becomes successful. Within 6 months there are maybe a dozen to be found within that city. Someone designs a particularly striking advertisement and it's only a matter of time because imitators appear. A news agency updates their look and almost over night everyone else does to.

    You see it in small things too. My wife corresponds with an online community of Taiwanese living in the States. She has a blog, as many do. She has a fairly distinctive writing style which suits her personality. Inevitably someone came along and started copying her writing style. It got to a point where this particular girl started writing about the very same things my wife had written about previously.

    China adds yet another dimension to this absurdity. Most people there are poor. We hear all this talk about the booming economy, the burgeoning middle class and all that. But the fact is that most Chinese are poor. And I mean living in poverty to a point that the so-called poor in the US haven't experienced. What does this mean? They can't afford all the shiny, impressive and absurdly expensive products made by foreign companies. So what have some enterprising Chinese done? They've made cheap, inexpensive knockoffs. Most are pure garbage, but they cost next to nothing and provide some level of the functionality found in the expensive foreign product. Some people may even be fooled into thinking they've purchased the real thing.

    This sort of thing used to really frustrate me. Especially when it affect my work directly. At the time I'd think about how great it was that no one could get away with this sort of thing in the US.

    But then I realized two things. First, it does happen in the US. Companies here just happen to be more careful about how they go about it. Look at Hollywood, and worse, look at the game industry. It's only logical that when people see something that has led to success they try to emulate it. The easiest way to enjoy some of that success is to resort to copying.

    This leads me to the second thing I realized. I've come to think this is a good thing, within limits of course. There's a point at which a company or an individual has just gone too far and measures need to be taken.

    Nevertheless, this sort of thing keeps innovators on their toes. It forces them to be competitive. Like I mentioned earlier, copying is a way of life in Asia. It means that people aren't sitting trying to figure out how to go about suing the offending party. They aren't whining to the government that someone has just ripped them off. Instead, their moving on to something else. In some cases, as it was with us, the frame of mind is one of trying to raise the bar further, to stand out from the imitators.

    The other advantage here is that the imitators are slowly improving their own skill sets. They're being exposed to new ideas and learning from them, even if they don't realize it at the time. But it's something, over a long period of time that I believe leads to real progress.

    The reality is that in most cases the imitations will never be anywhere near as good as the originals. So the ones actually producing something unique will always have the advantage. So as long as they don't get lazy they should be fine. If their in a situation where they're being seriously threatened by those copying it's almost certain they're doing something wrong.

    I'm not suggesting a free-for-all where people can copy with impunity. Patents and copyrights are reasonable to a certain extent. I just feel that in some cases things have gotten out of hand. A real free market shouldn't have the absurd level of protectionism some companies seem to expect.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by p0tat03 ( 985078 )

      "When I was living in Taiwan, which isn't China but it's close enough"

      As an ethnic Taiwanese... no... no it's not. Do not confuse a totalitarian dictatorship with no semblance of human rights with an American-styled democracy. Please. It insults all of us.

      That being said, I do agree that in Chinese culture there is little in the way of respect for intellectual property. Imitation is expected for all things popular and good, making most creative products a commodity (like your dessert example). This is

  • by IHC Navistar ( 967161 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @04:01AM (#18984997)
    Top Ten Changes At China's "Disneyland":

    10: Every conceivable surface is painted red.

    9: Skeletons, vampires, and other scary images replaced with pictures of famous American capitalists.

    8: The "Mickey Mouseketeer Club" replaced with "Children Of The Chinese Communist Party"

    7: Replaced the cars in "Autopia" with T-72 tanks

    6: "Rocketship" ride has been replaced with "Nuclear Missile" ride.

    5: Replaced the pirates in "Pirates Of The Caribbean" with American Capitalists.

    4: Replaced mechanical puppets in "It's A Small World" with brainwashed dissidents singing at bayonet point.

    3: Inserted subliminal propaganda messages into the "Tiki Hut" song.

    2: Renamed Disnyland restaurant "Mickey Mao's"

    1: Doubled the MSG content of the corndogs.


  • by Pontiac ( 135778 ) on Friday May 04, 2007 @08:36AM (#18986617) Homepage
    It's the Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park

    Here's the official website
    http://www.bs-amusement-park.com/ [bs-amusement-park.com]

    Epcot dome
    http://www.bs-amusement-park.com/ChinaIn/huanle.ht ml [bs-amusement-park.com]

    http://www.bs-amusement-park.com/ChinaIn/huanle-b. html [bs-amusement-park.com]

Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.