February 6, 2020
A court in China’s Jianhxi Province recently ruled that a Chinese online toy producer was in violation of the Peppa Pig copyright. Peppa Pig’s copyright owners, Entertainment One UK Limited and Astley Baker Davies Ltd., brought a lawsuit against the defendant, Li, after discovering that Li was selling a toy bearing a striking resemblance to the British preschool show’s title character, Peppa Pig. Peppa has grown into somewhat of a Chinese pop-cultural icon since the show was introduced to China in 2015, so much so that a Peppa Pig theme park opened in Shanghai last year.
Even though Peppa Pig’s copyright owners are based in the UK and the infringement is in China, both countries have consented to be bound by the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, an international agreement providing that works originating in one of the contracting states must be given the same protection in each of the other contracting states. As a result, the defendant was ordered to stop all acts of copyright infringement and was ordered to pay 30,000 yuan (about 5,700 Canadian dollars) to cover the costs of bringing the lawsuit in China. However, the defendant was not ordered to compensate the copyright owners for monetary losses because they reportedly failed to produce sufficient evidence of such losses.
Authors: Scott Kerr and Megan Brooks