China Court’s Injunction Ruling: the Auction Company Shall Not Sell Qian Zhongshu and Yang Jiang’s Letter and Manuscripts

360截图-27522991_副本(By You Yunting) As reported by Guangming News (note: the link is in Chinese), Beijing No.2 Intermediate People’s Court ruled in recent to demand the SUNGARI Auction Firm (the “SUNGARI”) not to carry out any conducts which would infringement the copyright contained in the letters written by Qian Zhongshu, Yang Jiang, Qian Yuan to Li Guoqiang. In the previous posts, we have put forward our opinions on the issue (post 1 and post 2).

According to the report, the court ruled that:

1. As the tools to communicate emotions, exchange ideas and discuss issues, the letter is generally the literal work finished by the writer basing on his/her independent thinking, and could be the work protected in the Copyright Law. Its copyright shall be owned by the author, who is namely the sender.

2. Anyone, including the recipient and other person acquiring the letters through lawful methods, shall not infringement the legal rights of the copyright when disposing the letters.

3. Since Yang has explicitly expressed her disagreement on the publication of the righted works, SUNGARI’s plan to display, auction off the letters involved, as well as the copying of the letters or to be copied for the auction could constitute the infringement against the right of reproduction and the right of publication of yang, and that could lead to the irrevocable losses.

Basing on these, the court ruled to demand SUNGARI not to make any infringement during the auction off, display or advertisement of the letters of Qian Zhongshu, Yang Jiang and Qian Yuan to Li Guoqiang.

Previously, Beijing Poly International Auction Co., Ltd. (the “Poly”) also announced it would auction off three letters of Qian Zhongshu and Yang Jiang. For this, Yang’s lawyer has sent the lawyer’s letter to Poly, and on the other hand, Yang made her second statement against the auction to be carried out in Poly and other firms, and she expressed her attitude of non compromise and determination to protect her rights. At the end, Poly uploaded its statement for auction on its official website, which says it would withdraw the letters for auction then.

The case has not been filed in the court, but we have seen the injunction ruled already, and that involves the preliminary injunction and mandatory injunction system in China.

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