Wednesday, 23 January 2013
Infringing World of Warcraft theme park built in China
The online video game industry is a big industry: the global market for video games is forecasted to grow from US$67 billion in 2012 to US$82 billion in 2017. And it is an industry which protects its copyright fiercly (see here, here and here for recent posts about video games).
Within that industry one of the most popular games is World of Warcraft, a multi-player role playing game released by Bizzard Entertainment. World of Warcraft had over 10 million subscribers in October 2012 and is currently the world's most-subscribed multi-player role playing game.In order to capitalise on World of Warcraft, and other games', successes, a theme park has been built in Changzhou, China: World Joyland. The park, which is not licensed by Blizzard Entertainment, is a clear rip-off of Blizzard's games but it stops short of directly copying the games. For instance, it is split into 5 different sections each representing a different game: Terrain of Warcraft (Warcraft), Universe of StarCraft (Starcraft), Island of Mystery, Moles World and World of Legend. The rides have names like "Splash of Monster Blood" and are populated by statues which look like the series' icons.
This comes as China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announces that it will establish a digital dispute-resolution centre to resolve IP disputes and online copyright issues.Tao Dongshu, the deputy director of Electronic Science and Technology of the Ministry of Industry and Information Institute of Intellectual Property Forensics Center, said that as networks have become the main medium for transmission of content, the internet has been a major challenge in combating piracy.
One can't help but wonder whether China should refocus its efforts to combat intellectual property infringements offline before it tackles the online world. The clear message being communicated by China tolerating infringing US$48 million theme parks and infringing buildings, is that copyright isn't a right worth enforcing.See more on copyright in China here.