Seven award-winning writers are suing a Beijing-based reading website for copyright infringement, the second case of its kind since former culture minister Wang Meng won in a 1999 lawsuit over another IT company on similar violations.
Li Mingsheng, Zhang Kangkang, Zhang Ping, Lu Yuegang, Wang Hongjia, Qiu Huadong and Xu Kunlian, all winners of national literary awards, accused Beijing Sursen Electronic Technology Company of using their masterpieces on its website without paying them. They claimed about 1.6 million yuan (213,000 U.S. dollars) in compensation.
Beijing‘s Haidian District Court accepted the lawsuit and has begun investigating, the Youth Daily reported Thursday. The court said there will be a further hearing but has not yet fixed a date for it. Beijing
Li, who claimed to represent the other writers, said that in 2006 he stumbled upon 11 of his own works on the website, www.du8.com, which is owned and operated by Sursen. They had been put there without his knowledge.
Li said after direct contacts with the company, it acknowledged copyright infringement and agreed to compensation. However no compensation has been made, Li said.
Li, a writer with a military background and best known for his military novels, said he conducted investigations himself in the following year and found Sursen has scanned literary works of many Chinese writers. He alleged that Sursen had illegally pasted them on its website, which charges for online reading.
Meanwhile, Li alleged that the company also produced CD-ROMs and sold them to libraries and archives nationwide, the newspaper reported.
All the seven writers refused out-of-court settlement with the website, and they have employed the intellectual property attorney who helped win the 1999 lawsuit.
In 1999, writer-turned Culture Minister Wang Meng and another six writers charged a
website with intellectual property violations. Their victory, however, was symbolic as none of the writers was paid more than 2,000 U.S. dollars in compensation. Beijing
This has happened before, with very limited success. We’ll see whether significant compensation is awarded this time. From Xinhua: