Coming to a small screen near you

Updated: 2014-05-08 07:52

By Yang Yang (China Daily)

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In August, Louis Cha, who under the pen name of Jin Yong is famous for his wuxia (martial arts and chivalry) novels, sued the mobile game developer iDreamSky Games, accusing the company of using his storylines for its game Sanjianhao, or Three Great Swordsmen, but failing to pay royalties., which paid 2 million yuan for the game-adaptation rights to Cha's 11 novels, has negotiated with the major operators and has managed to get the game withdrawn from online stores.

Popular works by Japan's Toei Animation Co and the comic book publisher Shueisha Inc, such as Knights of the Zodiac and One Piece, have also been pirated in China. In response, the companies have attempted to defend their rights through legal proceedings and by seeking the cooperation of platform owners.

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Infringement is now the biggest headache for Tencent, China's largest mobile-game provider and operator, which has bought the rights for an online game adaptation of Shueisha's manga cartoon Naruto and is still in negotiations for the adaptation rights for a mobile game, according to a Tencent employee familiar with the issue. Tencent also plans to release more than 100 mobile games on its platforms this year, including its own products and those from domestic and overseas content providers.

This month, the popular mobile game Candy CrushSaga will become available to Chinese users of the instant-messaging platforms QQ and WeChat, both owned by Tencent. The insider said the game will target the largest possible user base on the platforms, so it won't be difficult to master and revenue will be earned through "pay to win".

However, even though the game isn't yet on the market, reports of copycat versions are already circulating.

IPR concerns

"Some domestic game developers illegally copy popular foreign mobile games even before they have officially entered the Chinese market," said Jeremy Yu, deputy general manager of Tianjin Pictograph Technology Co.

Owning the intellectual property rights for their games is now essential for developers because it allows them to develop a range of derivatives. For Zhang, of Shanda Games, the research and development of new mobile games is one of the most important tasks a company must address: "Your product will only have lasting vitality if you have your own intellectual property."

According to Tang Zheng, CEO of Fantasy Technology, a mobile-game developer in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, the key to success is ownership of the intellectual property rights, but defending those rights is extremely difficult.

Coming to a small screen near you

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