Recommended Reading

Legal experts weigh in on Halloween IP

Updated: Nov 2, 2023 By Cao Yin China Daily Print
Share - WeChat

Though not widespread in China, the celebration of Halloween, involving dressing up as ghouls and ghosts and going "trick or treating", has struck a chord with some of the nation's youth.

Celebrations in Shanghai on Tuesday night not only saw many revelers dressed up as skeletons, witches and Western superheroes such as Spider-Man and Batman, but also celebrities and characters from Chinese folklore, history and fiction.

One partygoer dressed up as Lu Xun, a famous Chinese writer living in the early 20th century, while another dressed up as Chinese singer Na Ying.

Another dressed up as An Lingrong, a character in the Chinese TV series The Legend of Zhenhuan, and re-created scenes from the drama, which tells a story of the schemes and plots between Emperor Yongzheng's concubines in the imperial palace during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

The costumes seen this year in Shanghai received a great deal of attention among netizens.

A topic with the hashtag "Shanghai Halloween", had been viewed more than 120 million times on Sina Weibo social media platform as of 5 pm on Wednesday, with some netizens lauding the creativity and diversity of the costumes.

However, some legal professionals have expressed concerns about whether some of the costumes may infringe upon copyright and intellectual property.

"If the partygoers (dressed as characters from film and TV) performed for free and just for fun, and not for profit, during Halloween, their costumes and behaviors wouldn't constitute copyright infringement," said Liu Bin, a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property cases at Beijing Zhongwen Law Firm.

"But if someone dresses up as movie or TV characters for commercial purposes, such as to attract more online views to sell goods or advertise, they may infringe upon copyrights," he explained.

He said that people needed to be careful in dressing up as celebrities or public figures, "because if there is an act of vilifying these people, it may also be suspected of damaging their reputation."

According to Liu, dressing up as popular TV drama or movie characters during holidays and then sharing the pictures or videos on social media, including WeChat and Weibo, generally will not face legal risks.

"It's necessary to pay special attention to those who have thousands or even millions of followers online, as their posts may bring a large number of online views, and it's difficult to determine whether they are associated with commercial organizations," he added.

Copyright©2024 China Daily. All rights reserved.


京公网安备 11010502032503号 京公网安备 11010502032503号