Groping Toward A (c) Doctrine In China

CoCo’s posted recently about the recent upsurge in copyright enforcement in China. Here’s another one: Nike Kicks Up Fuss in China Again with Cartoon Ad [pdf]

But a Beijing court has ordered Nike Inc. to pay damages to a Chinese cartoonist who said his stick figure was copied in the footwear giant’s ads, local media reported on Thursday.

The court said the stickman character 28-year-old Zhu Zhiqiang created was nearly the same as one used in Nike advertisements, and ordered the company to pay 300,000 yuan ($36,000)

[…] Although the damages are just a fraction of the $242,000 Zhu had requested, Nike representative Zhang Zaiping said the company would likely appeal against the decision and argued that the figure was too generic to deserve a copyright.

“Zhu’s stick figure is within the public domain and lacks originality,” he was quoted as saying.