Current Position: Home > IP News > Photographer claims 3 million yuan for protecting the rights of hand drawn maps!

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Recently, a freelance photographer from Chongqing, Lao Yu, reported to upstream news reporters that his hand-painted map "Complete Map of Tibetan Travel Strategy" created in 2007 has been repeatedly plagiarized and sold by others for more than a decade. What angered him the most was that the pirated map was openly sold at Xinhua Bookstore in Lhasa.

In August of this year, Lao Yu (Zhu Min), who believed that his copyright had been seriously infringed, filed a lawsuit with the Lhasa Intermediate Court, accusing the "plagiarist" Li Mouyan and the compilation unit Qinghai Provincial Geospatial and Natural Resources Big Data Center (hereinafter referred to as Qinghai Geographic Center) The publishing unit Hunan Map Publishing House (reporter's note: the publishing unit accused of pirated map labeling is Hunan Map Publishing House) and the selling unit Xinhua Bookstore in Lhasa City have filed a lawsuit and claimed 3 million yuan.

It is reported that the Lhasa Intermediate People's Court has filed this intellectual property case. The defendant and the unit claim to have received notification from the court and are actively preparing to respond.

The photographer spent three months hand-painting the complete map of a trip to Tibet

65 year old Lao Yu is a freelance photographer and also a travel enthusiast. He told upstream news reporters that in 2006, he established a company called Snowy Line Automobile Club in Lhasa, Tibet. Feeling that there was no simple, practical, and convenient travel map at that time, he wanted to draw a comprehensive map of Tibetan travel strategies for outdoor travelers to use.

For this reason, Lao Yu has repeatedly self driven and conducted on-site investigations in various parts of the Tibetan region. Thanks to his experience as a scout when he was young, he spent three months trying to draft and finally completed the "Complete Map of Tibetan Travel Strategy". In January 2007, this image was printed as a promotional material for the Lhasa Snow Line Automobile Club and distributed to customers for use.

According to the map book provided by Lao Yu, the strategy map starts from Chongqing in the east, extends to Yinchuan and Urumqi in the north, Kashgar in the west, and Kunming in the south. Cities including Tibet, Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu, and Yunnan are connected by lines one by one, including the most concerned travel routes for travelers. Basic data along the way, including elevations of various regions, kilometers of road connections, specific locations of scenic spots, and mountain pass elevations, are all labeled one by one.

In the upper left corner of the album, it is marked that the creative design and photography of the image are from Laoyu, and the copyright belongs to Lhasa Snow Line Automobile Club. In the bottom right corner of the album, Old Fish also provided an explanation of the strategy map.

On August 8, 2023, Lao Yu registered his work "Complete Map of Tibetan Travel Strategy" with the National Copyright Administration. The type of work was a graphic work, and the copyright was owned by Lhasa Snow Line Automobile Club Co., Ltd.

Claiming to have discovered plagiarism and widespread piracy

To Lao Yu's surprise, in 2022, he decided to put the work on the market for sale, but during the preparation process, he found that a large number of pirated maps of his work were being sold extensively in the market. One of the creators was Li Mouyan's "Tibetan Travel Strategy Map", which was openly sold at Xinhua Bookstore in Lhasa.

According to its investigation, the maps published by the three parties were printed a total of 25 times, with 10000 copies printed each time at a price of 20 yuan; Meanwhile, supermarkets, hotels, and restaurants in cities along National Highway 318 have all sold the infringing map.

In addition, the plaintiff purchased the above-mentioned infringing map from the fourth defendant on June 1, 2022 and March 9, 2023, respectively. After the plaintiff informed the fourth defendant (Xinhua Bookstore in Lhasa City) that the map they sold was an infringing publication, the fourth defendant still sells the map to this day.

Due to the lack of professional knowledge and necessary on-site investigation by the four defendants, there were a large number of obvious errors in the pirated map, which misled tourists' travel experience and objective evaluation of the map, causing extremely negative impact and huge economic losses to the plaintiff's sales after putting the genuine version of the map into the market. Lao Yu believes that the above-mentioned actions of the four defendants have seriously infringed on their right of authorship as the copyright owner of the work in question Rights such as reproduction, distribution, exhibition, and information network dissemination.

Lawyer outside the case:

It is necessary to determine whether there is infringement based on the creation time and similarity

Does Li Mouyan constitute infringement? Do the compilation unit and publishing unit need to bear responsibility? Upstream news reporters consulted intellectual property lawyer and lawyer Cai Xiaoli from Shanghai Hansheng (Chengdu) Law Firm regarding this matter.

Handdrawn map works are protected by China's copyright law, "Cai Xiaoli told upstream news reporters. Article 3 (7) of China's Copyright Law clearly includes graphic and model works such as engineering design drawings, product design drawings, maps, and schematic diagrams in the scope of copyright protection. Unlike the main function of traditional maps to guide direction, hand drawn map works have emerged with the development of the tourism industry, reflecting the creativity, social experience, geographical knowledge, artistic skills, and other aspects of the creators. They have a certain degree of originality and high commercial value.

Cai Xiaoli stated that, taking the disputed map in this case as an example, Tibet has always been a paradise for self driving enthusiasts. Due to its vast territory and scattered tourist attractions, a hand drawn map that has undergone on-site inspection and accurate data and routes is very important for tourists. Therefore, in the process of market competition, there have been multiple authors and hand-painted maps reflecting Tibet's tourism routes. Among these hand-painted map works, there may be the phenomenon of borrowing or plagiarizing the creative works of others.

In this case, whether the hand-painted map created by Li Mouyan plagiarized Lao Yu's hand-painted map works needs to be judged based on the criteria of combining the creation time of two hand-painted map works and whether they constitute substantial similarity. "Cai Xiaoli said that China's" Map Management Regulations "stipulate that the compilation, review, publication, and internet map services of maps must comply with strict laws and regulations, Therefore, if a handdrawn map work is deemed to constitute infringement, the organization responsible for the compilation, review, and publication of the map may also be held responsible.

At present, the trial date for this intellectual property case has not been determined.

Source: Upstream News

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