Taiwan actor to hand massive fine for photo copyright infringement

Hu Yijing China Plus Published: 2017-09-10 17:29:01
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Taiwan actor Jimmy Lin has been fined 345,000 yuan (about US$53,263) for copyright infringement, by a court in Beijing.

It's said to be China's highest ever fine for infringing the copyright of a single photograph, reports thepaper.cn.

Chinese actor Jimmy Lin. [File Photo: IC]

Chinese actor Jimmy Lin. [File Photo: IC]

On his Sina Weibo social media account on August 25, 2013, Jimmy Lin posted an update to celebrate reaching 21 million followers.

Lin used a retouched image, replacing the face of one of the subjects in the photo with his own.

The original image was taken by Chinese photographer Zhu Qingfu in 1992.

The original version of Zhu Qingfu's prize-winning photograph. [File Photo: 163.com]

The original version of Zhu Qingfu's prize-winning photograph. [File Photo: 163.com]

The atmospheric work, showing a line of Chinese soldiers, has won various prizes since then, and according to the photographer, meant a lot to him.

Zhu accused Lin of distorting his work and infringing his rights, and filed a suit against him and Sina Weibo's operation company, demanding they take down the image, offer a formal apology and compensation of over 1.1 million yuan.

Chinese photographer Zhu Qingfu. [File Photo: 360doc.com]

Chinese photographer Zhu Qingfu. [File Photo: 360doc.com]

Lin says he lost no time in disconnecting the picture's link after receiving Zhu's bill of indictment, and posted a statement on his Weibo account making an apology.

The actor argues that he wasn't the one who modified Zhu's photo, but simply shared the retouched version "for fun."

Lin also says the compensation Zhu demanded was too high.

The Beijing Haidian District Court pronounced on Friday that Jimmy Lin's action constituted infringement of copyright.

The court decided Lin should post an apology in a prominent position on his Weibo account for 72 hours consecutively, as the previous apology he had made was not clearly directed to Zhu.

Lin was also ordered to pay compensation of 300,000 yuan, as well as 45,000 yuan legal expenses to Zhu.

According to China's Copyright Law, where the copyright holder's actual losses or the infringer's illegal gains cannot be determined, the people's court shall, on the basis of the seriousness of the act of tort, adjudicate a compensation of 500,000 yuan or less.

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