Isnin, 21 Oktober 2013

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

Two artists in spat over copycat tattoo


IS a tattoo design an original work of art that should not be copied? That has been the subject of an ongoing spat between a tattoo artist in the city-state and one in Kuala Lumpur, with lawyers weighing in to say it might well be a question of copyright.

It was in June last year that teacher Shan Ho, 25, got Singapore tattooist Moon Pang to put an original design of a lacy black bow on her back.

All was fine until a few weeks ago when she discovered an exact copy of her tattoo on the photo-sharing app Instagram.

The photo was credited to Kinki Ryusaki, the pseudonym of Kuala Lumpur-based artist Wong Wei Yin.

Ho was flattered at first, but later felt indignant. She told Pang about the copy, and he tracked down a photo of his design on Wong's Facebook page. Entitled "Tattoo by Kinki Ryusaki", it had garnered over 26,000 "likes".

Pang, 37, who uploads his work onto Instagram, Facebook and his own website, confronted Wong via Facebook, but his comments were deleted.

Reached for comment, Wong insisted she had done no wrong. She claimed she worked off a picture provided by her client, modifying the design "a little".

"If you want to talk about copying, then everybody is copying each other," said the 26-year-old, pointing out that other versions of the lace bow tattoo have been uploaded onto the Internet recently.

"The artist should be proud of it instead of making such a big fuss," she added.

But intellectual property experts say tattoo art might well be covered by copyright laws.

An original work has copyright protection from the moment it is created in a tangible form, whether it is a sketch or a tattoo, and the original artist has the exclusive right to adapt or reproduce it.

"If you recreate the design, even in another medium, it's still infringement," said lawyer Jonathan Kok, a partner at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing.

And because both Singapore and Malaysia are signatories to international copyright agreements such as the Berne Convention, a Malaysian court would recognise the infringement of a Singaporean's work and allow him to take action there, said Kok.

Tattooists who upload their designs online said that while copying is fairly rampant, they try to dissuade clients who want a design they have seen elsewhere.

Pang, who runs Moonstruck Tattoo in Jalan Besar, says the spat with Wong could have been avoided if she had only asked for his permission.

"We really just want to protect our rights and our customers' rights," he said. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

'How to Make Leaders' viewed 2.29 million times


AN animation clip titled "How to Make Leaders" has been viewed more than 2.29 million times since it was uploaded on Youku, the nation's version of Youtube, on Oct 15.

Portraying the cartoon characters of Chinese President Xi Jinping, US President Barack Obama and British Prime Mister David Cameron, the video presents a light-hearted take on the process for a politician to become the top leader in the three countries.

By comparing the British and American ways with the Chinese system, the clip told viewers that China's state leader has to spend more than 20 years to climb the ranks, starting from the primary level of the hierarchy.

The video traced Xi's journey to the top, which involved 16 transfers and promotions.

A cartoon figure featuring Xi's mugshot hopped – Super Mario style – from a county level to a city and a few provinces, before he was made the vice-president and eventually the Chinese Communist Party's secretary-general and president.

Through the various positions a leader has to take on before governing the country, the video said he "would have sailed through all kinds of rapids and shoals" and "participated in the deliberation and formulation of many major strategies and policies".

"That is why over the decades, through several leadership transitions, China has managed to keep its policies generally consistent and worked along one national development strategy," the voiceover said, concluding that this is "one of the secrets of the 'China Miracle'."

Although the clip has gone viral and attracted considerable media attention, no one has the answer to the motive and origins of the clip.

The producer is only known with its Youku user name "Fuxinglushang" or "On the Road to Revival". It has uploaded two videos so far; one being the original clip of "How to Make Leaders" while the other is the clip's English version with English voiceovers and subtitles.

Time magazine, in a news report, said "fuxing" is used as a pun as it is a popular term in China referring to a propaganda campaign for the national revival of the country.

Furthermore, it said many government bureaus are located at the Fuxing Road in Beijing, including the office of the General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

An anonymous expert interviewed by Southern Metropolis Daily speculated that the video was produced by the government with an intention to break free from the usual rigid government propaganda.

Chinese Academy of Governance public administration professor Zhu Lijia told China Daily that the cartoons have helped to establish a closer link between the top leaders and the public.

"Compared with serious political lessons, an animation would certainly better appeal to the public. It gives people a clearer sense of how they rose through the ranks step-by-step. People might think that (Xi) is just one of us," he said.

Meanwhile, the video has attracted mixed reviews from the Chinese netizens, who, incidentally, were portrayed in the clip as well.

The clip said the performance of the country leaders are subject to all kinds of supervision and reviews, including the scrutiny from the 538 million of netizens who "show no mercy to officials with misconduct".

A Youku user commented that the video tried a little too hard to paint a good image, but he or she is confident that the country is moving forward nonetheless.

Another user has only praise for the creative publicity effort.

"It is innovative and lively. The video presents (the lesson) in a clear context through comparisons and examples. It leaves a deep impression, especially the part with steps and map," the user said.

Commenting on the process of how the state leaders made it to the top, a netizen is convinced that the Chinese system is the most "kaopu", or reliable.

"They have to go through layer and layer of trials and tribulations. It is much better than the fanfare-like elections," the user said.


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