doing what the chinese do best: plagiarism at expo 2010

The Expo 2010 Shanghai China (中國2010年上海世界博覽會) opens today until 31 October 2010. For further coverage of the Expo 2010, refer to my earlier blog post. All the details about Expo Shanghai 2010 is there.

To celebrate the opening of Expo Shanghai 2010, I have provided here some issues that have engulfed organisers even before doors were opened, all very much in typical Chinese style.

China Pavilion vs Japan Pavilion

China Pavilion (Expo 2010)

The rivalry between the Chinese and the Japanese continues. Some say that the jewel of Expo Shanghai 2010, the China Pavilion, was taken from the Japan Pavilion designed by Tadao Ando for the Expo Seville 1992.

Japan Pavilion (Expo 1992)

It’s hard to discern whether they are copies of each other, but it is true that eastern architecture is very similarly inspired.

(Images from Solo Photography and Flickr)

The song’s plagiarism rumour

The 30 day countdown song named “Right here waiting for you 2010” (2010等你來) has also been the focus of plagiarism claims. The song was taken off the air as soon as allegations were made that it plagiarised Mayo Okamoto’s (岡本真夜) “Stay the way you are” (そのままの君でいて) sung 14 years ago.

You will hear that the melodies are quite similar. I love one Chinese netizen’s accusation that the Japanese 1997 song copied their Expo song. Obviously not the smartest cookie in the jar.

Expo’s song was chosen in 2004 after public consultation. Both the melody and lyrics were declared original by the composer, so organisers have made great lengths to distance themselves away from the controversy.

Expo Shanghai 2010 organisers sought the owner’s permission for use of the song, effectively conceding through such actions the allegations against it. Okamoto was reported to have approved the use of the song.

The mascot’s plagiarism rumour

Do you remember as a kid watching that clay animation on television called “The Gumby Show”? A fellow Gumby watcher from the NPR raised with Expo Shanghai 2010 officials during a press conference the similarity between Gumby and the Haibao (the mascot), and it caused instant uproar. Officials strongly deny any copying but people are divided on the issue.

Haibao vs Gumby

Proponents note the differences: waving on the opposite side, a different pose, Haibao is markedly fatter, the colours are different, lack of eyebrows and hair style direction is different. I think that really takes the word ‘copy’ very literally.

I believe that it does not need to be an exact replica to have ‘copied’. A reproduction that has similarities of an extent where the ‘copied’ thing is able to be easily recognised as the original is sufficient for my purposes. Note that I don’t speak for the law and neither am I familiar with the law in this field. Nonetheless, in my opinion, Haibao does not sufficiently contain the similarities that makes me say it  looks like Gumby even when presented with the above picture.

As for what CNNGo says in the last paragraph of this article, I have no problems in saying that Haibao is a copy of that. Even the name is the same. Haibao Electrical Appliances (HEA) specialises in whitegoods. The company started using their logo (below image) in 2000. However, rather than be unhappy at Expo Shanghai 2010 organisers stealing  their logo, the company is happy about the free advertising it brings. Do more people know about HEA as a result of the blatant infringement? I don’t think so.

Haibao vs Haibao

(Images from CNNGo and Haibao)

The scuffles in Expo 2010

In latest reports coming straight from Expo Shanghai 2010 on opening day, scuffles have occurred from people trying desperately to get tickets into the China Pavilion. This also happened last week during the five test days where Expo Shanghai 2010 was opened to the public as a trial.

Tickets for the China Pavilion were today manually given out. Some people disregarded queues and pushed forward in order to grab tickets required to enter the China Pavilion. In the process, bins and people were knocked over, causing anger amongst the crowd leading to shouting matches and scuffles.

Clearly just doing what the Chinese do best.

Latest from Shanghai: Pushing for tickets into China Pavilion

Expo-goers clearly expressed their unhappiness with the arrangements made by officials, especially less able people that were unable to obtain any tickets at all.

(Image from RTHK)

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2 responses to “doing what the chinese do best: plagiarism at expo 2010

  1. Pingback: doing what the chinese do best: plagiarism at expo 2010 « ben.ism | tour2china.info·

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