Current Position: Home > IP News > Sentenced to 5 million yuan in compensation! Chinese artist Ye Yongqing lost the lawsuit

Recently, Belgian artist Christian Silvain posted on his personal social account, saying, "After four years of waiting, we have won the lawsuit in China


The cause of the incident can be traced back to February 2019, four years ago. Silvan discovered that the famous contemporary Chinese artist Ye Yongqing had plagiarized his works created in the 1980s: "Birds, bird nests, bird cages, red cross frames, airplanes... everything is there! Except for my name, it looks exactly the same

Silvan spoke through multiple Belgian media outlets, accusing Ye Yongqing of plagiarizing his artistic creations and selling them for over 100 times the original price, earning huge profits. He also commissioned a Chinese lawyer to file a legal lawsuit involving plagiarism.


Left: Works by Belgian artist Silvan, 1990 Right: Works by Ye Yongqing, 1994

It is reported that Ye Yongqing was born in 1958 and is one of the representative figures, famous curator, and art activist during the "85 Art Trend" period. He was once a professor at the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts. Silvan was born in Oipen, Belgium in 1950 and is a self-taught artist who is far less well-known than the former. In 2018, Ye Yongqing held a solo exhibition at the Yu Deyao Art Museum in Shanghai titled "The 1982 1992 Era of Creation", showcasing his works from the 1980s to the 1990s, which included his paintings inspired by Impressionism, Cubism, and natural landscapes.


Recently, the Beijing Intellectual Property Court made a first instance judgment on the case of Silvan v. Ye Yongqing's infringement of copyright: Ye Yongqing immediately stopped the infringement behavior involved in the case; Ye Yongqing issued an apology statement in a section outside the middle of the Global Times, apologizing to the plaintiff Silvan and eliminating the impact. Ye Yongqing shall pay the plaintiff Silwan a compensation of RMB 5 million; Reject the plaintiff Silvan's other litigation claims.

The plagiarism incidents in the art industry have been common in recent years. In 2018, the award-winning work of Fan, a teacher at Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts, was accused of plagiarism. Subsequently, the academic committee of the academy determined that Fan had plagiarized and made a decision to cancel Fan's qualifications as an associate professor, revoke and recover the rewards and bonuses, and dismiss him.

In early 2021, the scandal of Wang Xiaoli, the chairman of the Qinghai Artists Association and the youngest member of the China Artists Association, suspected of plagiarizing artist Ma Hansong, continued to spread online. The Chairman of the Qinghai Artists Association has been suspended for inspection on suspicion of 'copying' multiple paintings by others! In the end, Wang Xiaoli also admitted to plagiarism and apologized "deeply ashamed".


In fact, it is difficult to define whether many works are plagiarized, because design works are rich in content and can be easily pieced together from different people, sometimes difficult to evaluate. Although painting and painting belong to the same type of work, their techniques and composition are different. Only the characters have the same body shape, which belongs to the category of "adaptation". The adapted content has copyright, but if it is not authorized for adaptation, it can be protected and processed.

In short, plagiarism has become a major issue facing the art world today. Schools and all sectors of society need to strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights, enhance awareness of artistic creation and intellectual property rights, and increase efforts to combat plagiarism. Only in this way can we gradually change this situation and make the art world more fair, just, and healthy.

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