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June 7, 2012

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Copyright appeal targets play

SHANGHAI Huju Opera House went to court yesterday to defend itself in a copyright suit in which a local culture company accused it of illegally adapting a Hong Kong novel and performing it in local theaters.

The Shanghai Huayan Art Culture Company appealed to the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court, seeking compensation of 500,000 yuan (US$78,500) for its ownership of "Rouge," a novel written by famous Hong Kong scriptwriter and novelist Lillian Lee.

The novel was turned into a movie in 1988 starring the late Hong Kong actor Leslie Cheung and actress Anita Mui.

Huayan said Lee transferred the mainland copyright of "Rouge" to the company in September 2008 and that the contract remains valid until September 2014. But the company found the Shanghai Huju Opera House performed a Shanghai folk drama called "Rouge Box" in January 2010, which Huayan claimed was adapted from "Rouge" without its approval.

Last year, Huayan filed a lawsuit against Shanghai Huju Opera House and two scriptwriters of "Rouge Box" at Xuhui District People's Court. It noted the similar title and that the main characters of the "Rouge Box" had the same names as those in the novel "Rouge."

The lower court rejected its case in April, ruling that the two works had obvious differences in characters' personalities, plots and logical relations.


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