Producers of the popular Chinese historical drama, Story of Yanxi Palace , have been fined about SG$12k for copyright infringement. According to Sina Entertainment , iQIYI, Dongyang Huanyu Film and Television Culture, and Shanghai Baoyue Film and Television Investment, were sued by plaintiff Fan Mou for allegedly using his published works in the title sequence of Yanxi for all 70 episodes as well as six additional episodes without his consent.
According to screenshots of the legal document on Sina Entertainment, iQIYI explained that it has the rights to Story of Yanxi Palace and has never been accused of copyright infringement. The company argued that it also has the rights to distribute Story of Yanxi Palace on its platform. On the topic of copyright infringement, iQIYI said in the screenshot that there was previously no reason for iQIYI to have believed that such an issue existed. Nonetheless, as soon as iQIYI received the lawsuit, it immediately made changes to the series content, including the title sequence. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to iQIYI for a statement.
Meanwhile, Dongyang Huanyu said Fan's evidence was insufficient to prove that he was the copyright owner of the photographic work. The company added that the alleged infringing image only formed "a frame of the title". That said, the companies were still made to pay RMB60k (approximately SG$12k) in damages to Fan. Dongyang Huanyu and Shanghai Baoyue were also ordered to issue an apology in the People's Court News within 10 days of the effective judgement date.
Story of Yanxi Palace was the most Googled TV show in 2018. According to BBC , the series streamed over 15 billion times on iQIYI and was the most-watched online drama in mainland China for 39 consecutive days over the summer. The drama tells the tale of revenge and romance set during the rule of Emperor Qianlong in the Qing dynasty, as concubines fight for power in the Forbidden City.
In 2018, iQIYI completed the international distribution of Story of Yanxi Palace , making the drama available to audiences in over 70 territories globally. TVB, for example, acquired the distribution rights for the show in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Macao. Further broadcasting agreements with partners such as AsiaN TV, Gala TV, and HTV2 were inked to bring the drama to audiences in South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam respectively.
According to iQIYI in August 2018, the drama had accumulated over one million views per episode on international streaming platforms at that time. Subtitles and dubbed versions were also made available to non-Chinese speakers.
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