Legal Action Threatened Over Famous Photograph

China Youth Development Foundation is considering taking legal action against an eyedrops producer that tampered with a photograph used by Project Hope, a 10-year-old public welfare project sponsored by the foundation, in promoting its products.

The foundation said it would investigate the matter before deciding what action to take, said Wang Ning, lawyer for the foundation.

The photograph, which shows a girl gazing into the distance, has become a symbolic picture for Project Hope, which aims to help students who have dropped out of school because of poverty.

In the tampered picture, the girl appears with a pair of black-framed glasses on an advertising poster for an eyedrops producer. This promotes a product, made in Nanning, the capital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, that claims to cure short-sightedness.

The foundation's lawyer said this is "definitely an infringement" of copyright. He said it also damages the image of Project Hope.

Xie Hailong, the photographer, has given the foundation the exclusive right to use this photo for the sole purpose of promoting Project Hope, according to the lawyer.

The parents of Su Mingjuan, the girl in the photograph, have also given permission for the foundation to use her image, he said.

Despite the harsh words, the lawyer did not rule out the possibility of compromise with the company, which is expected to contact the foundation in the next few days.

Further actions could also depend on the scope of the infringement, he added.

(China Daily 12/07/2000)

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