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January 19, 2011

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Studio sues over copyright breach

SHANGHAI Animation Film Studio, which owns the copyright of the classic image Monkey King, has sued four companies involved in intellectual property infringements at Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court, seeking compensation of 5.15 million yuan (US$781,487) and a public apology.

The studio produced the animated film Monkey King in 1961 and caused a sensation both at home and abroad. The vivid imagery in Monkey King cemented the film as a milestone in China's animation film history.

The studio found in 2008 that Guangdong Zhuhai Tianxingzhe Culture Broadcast used the Monkey King image on without the studio's permission.

Guangdong claimed it bought copyright and overseas publishing rights in 2001 and called itself the "father of new Monkey King." It also put a video of part of the film on the website.

The studio told the court that it did sign a contract with the company to give it rights to screen the film in the United States in 2001, but the contract was terminated.

In addition to using the image on the website, the company authorized Zhuhai Qianzhi Shoe to use the image as a logo for its children's shoes in 2008 and set up Wukong garment company to promote the shoes, the studio said.

According to the website, Wukong company has shops throughout Zhuhai City and has provincial agents in Shanxi, Jiangsu and Shandong provinces and Shanghai.

The studio bought such a pair of shoes at Shanghai Yangpai Trade last February and included the local company in the list of defendants.


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