Tag Archives: China

Rubber duck artist Florentijn Hofman doesn’t understand intellectual property

rubber-ducks-hofman.png

It was announced this week that Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman will bring a smaller version of the Hong Kong duck to China’s capital for Beijing Design Week in September. Accompanying the duck will be Hofman’s inflated ego and wilful misunderstanding of copyright and intellectual property.

In previous coverage of the Hong Kong duck we’ve largely overlooked Hofman’s ridiculous statements (he claimed Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour would “never be the same“) about the “meaning” behind his work: ‘artist says pretentious thing about art’ isn’t really news. What is worth discussing however is Hofman’s equally ridiculous statements about intellectual property and the monopoly he seems to think he has on depictions of rubber ducks.

The stated objective of Hofman’s visit to Beijing Design Week is to “drive an awareness programme raising the sensibility towards intellectual property rights around China”. This is an admirable goal for sure, but one that is entirely unsuited to Hofman’s work.

As Jeremy Goldkorn pointed out on Twitter, rubber ducks predate Florentijn Hofman by a long time. The first rubber ducks appeared in the late 19th century as rubber manufacturing became widespread. In fact, the iconic nature of the rubber duck in pop culture is what makes Hofman’s work so successful, something he previously acknowledged. Since bringing his work to China however, Hofman (and his representatives) have taken a different approach, seeking to claim that companies that riff on or recreate the Hong Kong duck are infringing upon the artist’s “intellectual property”, a narrative that has been seized upon and bolstered by the Chinese press in a series handwringing editorials.

From a moral standpoint, Hofman’s case is fairly strong. Recreations/copies of the Hong Kong duck that popped up in Chinese cities were crass opportunism at best, a way to piggyback on the huge amount of goodwill Hong Kong was receiving from the duck’s presence in Victoria Harbour. What the recreations do not do is infringe upon Hofman’s intellectual property rights. Making a larger version of an existing object does not give one copyright over other depictions of that object.

When discussing copyright and creativity, the words we use matter. Hofman is well within his rights to say that copying his idea (of taking an existing object and making a large, inflatable version of it) is kind of a dick move, but to make this a debate about intellectual property only further degrades an already vague, unhelpful term.

tl;dr “Pretentious Artist Doesn’t Understand Intricacies of Copyright Law”

Source: http://shanghaiist.com/2013/06/25/rubber_duck_artist_florentijn_hofman_doesnt_understand_intellectual_property.php

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Ducking the history books

Yellow Duck Version of Tank Man Photo Goes Viral Despite Chinese Censorship duckytankman

Yesterday was the 24th anniversary of the massacre in Tiananmen Square — an event that has been immortalized in history by AP photographer Jeff Widener’s famous “Tank Man” photo we shared earlier today. What you may not know is that, in China, the government still does everything it can to keep the event shrouded in mystery, pretending it never happened.

The Internet, however, is having none of it, as memes depicting the tank man photo in ways that might avoid censorship nets spring up all over the place. One of the most viral is the photo you see above.

The duck meme was inspired by the massive yellow ducks installed in Hong Kong’s Victoria harbor. Some unknown person took images of those ducks and used them to replace the tanks in the famous Tank Man photo below:

Yellow Duck Version of Tank Man Photo Goes Viral Despite Chinese Censorship tankman

The photo emerged first on the Chinese microblogging website Weibo, and has since received so much attention that Chinese authorities have added the term “big yellow duck” to a massive list of banned terms. Other forbidden words include “June 4th,” “today,” and “remember.”

No official death toll has ever been released from the student-led demonstration in Tiananmen Square — simply referred to as “The June 4th Incident” in Chinese — but estimates range as high as one thousand.

Source: http://petapixel.com/2013/06/05/yellow-duck-version-of-tank-man-photo-goes-viral-amidst-chinese-censorship/#To19Iu2Idbp0Igfl.99

China condemns plague of fake ducks

Visitors pose for photos in front of a yellow rubber duck floating on a lake in eastern China’s Tianjin, on June 1, 2013. The official mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist Party condemned an outbreak of giant yellow ducks across the country, after imitations of an artwork in Hong Kong landed in several cities.

The official mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist Party condemned an outbreak of giant yellow ducks across the country, after imitations of an artwork in Hong Kong landed in several cities. Visitors…

Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman’s 16.5 metre (54 foot) tall yellow inflatable has been a sensation in both Hong Kong and mainland China since it was installed in Victoria Harbour a month ago. Property…

Property developers in several cities, among them Hangzhou, Wuhan and Tianjin, have rushed to install similar, albeit smaller, yellow ducks to attract potential customers to their projects. In an editorial…

In an editorial the People’s Daily, China’s most-circulated newspaper, condemned the imitators for betraying what it said was Hofman’s own message.

The duck, it said, was a symbol of “humanity’s shared culture and childhood memories, pure art and anti-commercialisation”.

Copycat ducks were merely “kitsch” and such unoriginal behaviour “will ruin our creativity and our future and lead to the loss of imagination eventually” it said.

“The more yellow ducks are there, the further we are from Hofman’s anti-commercialisation spirit, and the more obvious is our weak creativity.”

“It’s good that the rubber duck is popular, but it’s sad to see the innovation of our country to go down. We often talk about awareness and confidence in our own culture, but where do they come from? Definitely not from following new trends.”

Tourism authorities in Hunan, it pointed out, have renamed a mountain long known as the “Southern Sky Column” as “Avatar Hallelujah Mountain” after it inspired landscapes in the Hollywood special-effects blockbuster.

“This is not innovation, it’s selling our inheritance,” the newspaper said in the editorial, which appeared both in print and online editions.

For those who want a giant rubber duck of their own, China’s vast army of manufacturing firms has moved to meet demand.

One company, KK Inflatable, is selling ducks in multiple sizes, one of them even larger than Hofman’s creation, on Taobao, China’s biggest shopping website.

A two-metre one costs 2,800 yuan ($460), one of the size of Hofman’s is 118,000, and the biggest bird of all, a 20-metre monster duck, costs 149,800 yuan.

Source :http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/world/353208/china-state-media-condemns-plague-of-fake-ducks.

Seattle tests backyard chickens for deadly bird flu

In the USA, the Washington State Department of Agriculture has started increasing its efforts to screen backyard chickens and other domestic fowl for bird flu to prevent an outbreak of the H7N9 virus that has so far killed 36 people in China.

The state’s Avian Health Program is looking for owners of backyard chickens, ducks and geese to join Washington’s Voluntary Flock Testing program. Experts will visit homes twice during a year-long period to test flocks for the virus by swabbing the birds’ mouths and collecting eggs. The program is free for bird owners.

There have been no known cases of the H7N9 bird flu strain in Washington. But, Michelle Gill, who oversees the state’s Animal Disease Traceability program, said testing backyard chickens could help contain the virus if it appears in this area.

“Washington has a lot of commercial poultry producers, and if we keep our backyard poultry safe and healthy that keeps our commercial poultry healthy,” she said.

Gill said wild birds migrating from China to Mexico pass through Washington and could infect domestic birds.

When birds are infected with the H7N9 strain, she said they show no symptoms, so owners are typically unaware.

Eleni French of West Seattle has had chickens in her yard for five years, though she never considered having them tested for bird flu.

“I’m surprised to hear they could get it,” French said. “I would never have thought we could catch bird flu here.”

Still, even after learning about the state’s free testing program, French said she does not feel a strong need to join.

And, she’s not alone. The voluntary testing program has existed for three years and so far only 50 bird owners around the state have joined. Hector Castro, spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, is hoping to expand the program to include more flocks near commercial poultry, waterfowl refuges and within major bird flight paths.

“We’re trying to keep the public safe and keep domestic poultry safe and healthy,” Castro said. “We want a good network of volunteers in all parts of the state.”

The Avian Health Program is also offering free testing for bird flu and salmonella to 4H students showing birds at state fairs.

“These diseases can be passed on to humans so all sorts of precautions should be taken when handling birds,” Castro said. “Hand washing, keeping healthy birds and limiting contact.

China boils baby chickens alive as country is engulfed by panic over continuing outbreak of new strain of bird flu

  • Up to 30,000 chickens are being boiled alive every day at ONE FARM alone
  • Chinese authorities reveal four more people have died from the new strain
  • Total death toll from the H7N9 virus has now reached 31

 

Tens of thousands of baby chicks are being boiled alive in China as panic grips the country over the current outbreak of a mysterious new strain of bird flu.

Four more people have died from the new strain, bringing to the total number of deaths from the H7N9 virus to 31, Chinese health officials revealed yesterday.

Meanwhile, the number of infections has risen by two to 129, with health experts saying that the disease is probably being spread by poultry.

Quick and easy: A crate of newborn chicks is tipped into a pot of boiling water as the mass extermination of poultry continues in China triggered by the current outbreak of H7N9 bird flu in the countryQuick and easy: A crate of newborn chicks is tipped into a pot of boiling water as the mass extermination of poultry continues in China triggered by the current outbreak of H7N9 bird flu in the country

Desperate measures: Four more people have died from the new strain, bringing to the total number of deaths from the H7N9 virus to 31, Chinese health officials revealed yesterdayDesperate measures: Four more people have died from the new strain, bringing to the total number of deaths from the H7N9 virus to 31, Chinese health officials revealed yesterday

Boiled alive: The number of infections caused by the new virus has risen by two to 129, with health experts saying that the disease is probably being spread by poultryBoiled alive: The number of infections caused by the new virus has risen by two to 129, with health experts saying that the disease is probably being spread by poultry

Chicken farms facing official demands to dispose of as many birds as possible have now resorted to to killing off newborn chicks by plunging them in boiling water.

These photographs were taken at a poultry farm in Qingyuan city, in Guangdong province, south-east China, where as many as 30,000 new born chicks were dumped into boiling water to be killed every day.

Farm spokesman Fai T’ien said: ‘Before this virus outbreak we were hatching around 100,000 chicks a day. We have now cut that down to 50,000 and it is still too many and we are having to kill most of them.

‘We are putting a few aside to be vaccinated and sold onto the market but most are having to be killed by boiling them.’

Desperate to live: These photographs were taken at a poultry farm in Qingyuan city, in Guangdong province, south-east China, where as many as 30,000 new born chicks a day were dumped into boiling water to be killedDesperate to live: These photographs were taken at a poultry farm in Qingyuan city, in Guangdong province, south-east China, where as many as 30,000 new born chicks a day were dumped into boiling water to be killed

Grim work: A worker fishes dead birds from the bubbling pot, as thousands more packed in crates behind him wait to meet their fate. The Chinese government has ordered the mass extermination of birdsGrim work: A worker fishes dead birds from the bubbling pot, as thousands more packed in crates behind him wait to meet their fate. The Chinese government has ordered the mass extermination of birds

Not much better in store for this lot: Farm spokesman Fai T'ien said some of the newborn chickens were being put aside for vaccination and sale for slaughter, but most of their birds are having to be boiled aliveNot much better in store for this lot: Farm spokesman Fai T’ien said some of the newborn chickens were being put aside for vaccination and sale for slaughter, but most of their birds are having to be boiled alive

Farmers say that boiling is the easiest and quickest way to kill the chicks but there has been criticism by animal-rights activists who say that has to be a better way to deal with the problem.

The Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) has said it has no evidence that the new strain of bird flu, which was first detected in patients in China in March, is easily transmissible between humans.

Chinese scientists have confirmed that the H7N9 strain has been transmitted to humans from chickens. But the WHO has said 40 per cent of people infected with H7N9 appear to have had no contact with poultry.

The Chinese government provided only scant details about the latest victims of H7N9.

Two occurred in the eastern province of Jiangsu; one was from eastern Zhejiang; while another was from central Anhui, based on a Reuters analysis of the data provided by Chinese health authorities on Monday.

The head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the current strain of bird flu cannot spark a pandemic in its current form.

He added, however, that there is no guarantee it will not mutate and become more dangerous.

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2320731/China-boils-baby-chickens-alive-country-engulfed-panic-continuing-outbreak-new-strain-bird-flu.html#ixzz2ScCW4Yx4

Bird flu scare costs China poultry sector $1.6 billion

An employee sprays to sterilize a poultry farm in Hemen townshipChina’s poultry sector has recorded losses of more than 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) since reports emerged of a new strain of bird flu two weeks ago, an official at the country’s National Poultry Industry Association told Reuters on Tuesday.

Authorities have slaughtered thousands of birds and closed live poultry markets in Shanghai and Beijing in an attempt to reduce the rate of human infection and allay growing fears about the H7N9 virus.

However new cases are being reported daily. In total 14 people have now died from the bird flu virus and 63 have been infected, the official Xinhua news agency said on Monday.

Most of the cases to date have been in eastern China, where poultry consumption is down by more than half, according to Liu Yonghao, president the New Hope Group, the country’s largest producer of animal feed.

Prices have dropped on weaker demand. High-quality chicken is selling for 4 yuan per kg, down from 16 yuan per kg, Liang Zhong, the poultry association official, told the China Daily newspaper.

However National Bureau of Statistics data released on Monday showed that average whole chicken prices nationwide were down only 1.5 percent to 18.8 yuan per kilogram in the first 10 days of April, compared with the preceding 10-day period.

China is the world’s second largest poultry market after the United States, and poultry is the country’s fastest growing meat sector. But a spate of food safety scandals in recent months has hurt consumer confidence in the industry.

“Chicken prices are falling which will lead to losses for breeders,” New Hope’s Liu said last week. “There are more than 100 million farmers raising chickens who will need to be supported.”

The recent decline in demand is also having a negative impact on imported poultry.

“We thought that people would try to avoid domestic chicken, and have more preference for imported chicken, but this is not the case. Across the board, people are being more cautious,” said Sarah Li, director of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council’s Hong Kong office.

“According to our importers, (wholesale) sales for both imported and domestic chicken products have declined by 80 percent.”

Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/51553202/ns/business-stocks_and_economy/#.UW6xzX4tDS0

News – Shanghai closes poultry markets over bird flu

Workers in protective clothing chat during a culling operation as authorities detected the new bird flu strain in pigeons being sold for meat at a wholesale market in Shanghai on 5 April 5 2013Chinese officials in the city of Shanghai have ordered the temporary closure of its poultry markets due to the H7N9 bird flu outbreak.

A spokesman for the city authorities said the decision was taken on grounds of public safety.

The city has already begun a mass slaughter of poultry after the virus was discovered in pigeons at a market.

Six people have died in this latest outbreak. The H7N9 virus is a form of avian flu not seen before in humans.

China has officially confirmed 14 cases and six deaths due to H7N9 infection as of Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement.

The cases are reportedly from eastern China, including in Shanghai and Zhejiang province.

WHO says there is currently no evidence of human-to-human transmission.

“We have 14 cases in a large geographical area, we have no sign of any epidemiological linkage between the confirmed cases and we have no sign of sustained human-to-human transmission,” WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said in Geneva.

The latest fatality was a farmer, 64, who died in Zhejiang province, state-run media say.

Four of the bird flu fatalities and six of the 14 cases have been recorded in Shanghai.

The city is also monitoring another person who was in close contact with one of those who died after showing flu-like symptoms.

Shanghai health official, Wu Fan, was quoted by Agence-France Presse news agency as saying that the person tested negative for H7N9.

“There is no possibility of spreading the infection overseas,” Wu Fan also told a press conference.

Officials ordered the slaughter of at least 20,000 birds starting late on Thursday after the virus was detected in pigeons sold in Huhuai market.

The market was sealed and police stood watch as workers disinfected the areas, reports say.

Xu Wei, a spokesman for the Shanghai government, said trading of live poultry will be suspended on Saturday.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-22037833