Thursday, March 9, 2006
The Chinese law world is currently in the midst of a great debate over a brief video making its way around the Web called "一个馒头引发的血案" (A Case of Murder Caused by a Mantou - a mantou being a steamed bun popular in northern China). You can see the video here.
The video was put together by Hu Ge (胡戈), a disgruntled moviegoer, after seeing Chen Kaige's big-budget "无极" ("Promise") and finding it boring. He bought the DVD on his way home and put the video together in 10 days. The video takes scenes from the movie, adds on music from other sources and a narrative, and comes up with a ridiculous story about how a mantou led to a murder.
Chen Kaige was not amused and has apparently sued. The case has led to quite a bit of commentary in the legal world (see, for example, Beijing University's legal Web site www.chinalawinfo.com) on whether copyright law does or should protect Chen in this kind of case. There's a pretty good summary of the background story as well as various opinions in the most recent issue (March 9, 2006) of the Beijing Review here: Chinese | English