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Celebs fight back against rights infringements

By Zhang Yi | China Daily | Updated: 2019-12-02 09:10
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Last month, Wu Yifan, a popular actor and singer, was awarded compensation of 2 million yuan in an image rights case that was heard at Haidian District People's Court in Beijing.

The sum was the highest compensation award in such a case at the court, according to officials.

Yujin, a catering company in Guangzhou, Guangdong, used Wu's image without authorization in an advertisement.

It edited his picture into a poster and website image, and also used his signature and supposed words of recommendation.

The promo was then disseminated on the internet and used in the company's franchise store nationwide, the court ruling said.

"The infringement is obviously subjective and intentional, which is very serious and deserves harsh punishment," it said.

Zhu, who handled the case, said, "The high compensation in this case indicated a tendency toward higher compensation in cases of this kind."

In September, Chinese actor, singer Wallace Chung was also awarded a compensation of 2 million yuan in an image right case that was heard at Guangzhou Internet Court. The case was handled by Zhu's law firm.

In December last year, Lu Han, a popular singer and actor, received compensation of 300,000 yuan in a case of image-rights violation. A catering company in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, had used his portrait and signature in a promotion without permission.

In July, the same company was ordered to compensate Angelababy, a popular actress, 1 million yuan for illegally using her name and image in an advertisement.

The cases were heard by the same court, but the compensation awarded was very different.

"It was because the fine of 300,000 yuan in the first case was not enough to stop the company's illegal behavior," said Zhu, who handled the cases.

"After some time, the company took the risk of doing the same thing to another popular star. In the second case, the judge thought the issue was so serious that he awarded far higher compensation."

Liu and Zhu both urged raising the standard level of compensation in disputes related to celebrities' personality rights.

"At the very least, the bottom line for compensation awards should not be lower than the standard endorsement fee," Zhu said.

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