In publishing a postcard of Zhangjiakou scenery, the State Postal Bureau violated the Copyright Law, a court has ruled.
The postcard, which shows the Dajingmen, a landmark of this city in North China's Hebei Province, was taken by the plaintiff Ding Changlu.
It was used without his credit and edited without his permission, the Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court ruled.
Ding also sued the local government, which designed and sold the postcards.
The State Postal Bureau and the Zhangjiakou local government have been ordered to pay Ding 1,590 yuan (US$191.6) for using the picture.
However, the court turned down Ding's request for 100,000 yuan (US$12,000) compensation for "economic loss and mental damage."
The defendants must issue an apology in the local newspaper, according to the verdict.
It is the second case of this kind. Last year, the court ruled in favour of university lecturer Guo Xian, who took the State Postal Bureau to court for reproducing on postcards and editing without permission five of her papercut works.
The court ordered the bureau to pay more than 190,000 yuan (US$23,000) in compensation.
Some say there is still no clear-cut protection in law on the copyright of folk arts such as papercut works.
Others point out that the recent case is a sign of enhanced public awareness of the issue of copyright protection.
Many believe the State Postal Bureau has not yet given enough attention to copyright in publishing stamps and postcards.
(China Daily 09/26/2001)