“Yours Is Mine” – On the Issue of Copyright Infringement
(Minghui.org) Copyright infringement has been the norm in communist China. “Yours is mine” has even become a motto in recent years – from product design to patents and other intellectual property, people casually take ideas from others and reproduce and distribute others' copyrighted work for their own benefit. Some even consider themselves “capable” and “smart” for being able to use other's work for their own fame and profit. When such copyright infringement behavior happens in the cultivation community of Falun Dafa practitioners or in their truth-clarification projects, it will affect one’s own cultivation as well as the project as a whole.
In fact, such phenomena happen because of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) culture and moral degeneration. As the CCP brainwashes people with its communist and socialist ideology, such as “total equality,” many have been led to believe that they are entitled to the same things that others have without having to make any contributions or pay a price. And such deviated thinking has only gotten worse over time. During the economic reform that started in the 1970s, for example, people were still making sarcastic remarks about those who only wanted to use state-owned resources for free. There was even a well-known stand-up comedy based on such behavior. Several decades later, however, people now admire those who are able to score freebies all the time.
I once saw an interview with several manufacturers of counterfeit designer handbags. The interviewees did not mention how much their intellectual property theft had cost the handbag designers and genuine vendors, or how their behavior had violated copyright laws. Instead, they were proud of their advanced counterfeiting techniques and quick turnaround time. In fact, by showing off their “knowledge” and “insights” on forgery, they were promoting their own fake products. There are many things of this kind in today’s China, where moral degeneration and harm to others are ignored.
Unfortunately, copyright infringement has also been seen in the cultivation community. For example, some people set up social media accounts in the name of Falun Gong (also called Falun Dafa). One account specifically claimed to represent the Hong Kong Falun Dafa Association, and without the organization's consent, it published some Hong Kong practitioners’ pictures or video footage showing them at work or in daily life. As a result, some Hong Kong residents mistook the account as the official social media account of the Hong Kong Falun Dafa Association and even followed it.
The Hong Kong Falun Dafa Association explained in a statement that since the organization was launched in 1996, it has not set up any official social media account or entrusted anyone else to create and manage such an account. Therefore, it reserves the right to seek legal action against those who set up the abovementioned fake account. In fact, a large number of Hong Kong residents now support Falun Gong, thanks to tireless truth-clarification efforts over the past 20-plus years by Falun Gong practitioners in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The person(s) who believes they can “represent” Falun Gong practitioners in Hong Kong and set up that fake account is both morally and legally wrong, let alone the fact that it is inappropriate from a cultivation perspective.
Similarly, using works published on Minghui.org without permission from Minghui is also an issue of copyright infringement.
“Minghui’s work is being referenced and watched by various media, and they will learn about [Dafa’s] situation from the things the site reports. Also, more and more ordinary people are coming to recognize Minghui, and some will read Minghui after they get to know Dafa.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the Fa Conference Marking the Tenth Anniversary of Minghui’s Founding,” (Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. X)
But some practitioners outside of China repost articles from Minghui without mentioning the source or providing a link for others to access Minghui. Instead, they casually take Minghui articles and label them as their own work to increase clicks and viewership of their own websites. This is not only disrespecting Minghui's intellectual property, but also inhibiting Minghui from being known to a wider audience.
Taking things from others without their consent is a reflection of Chinese Communist Party culture. It does not belong to traditional Chinese culture and is something that practitioners should cultivate away. We should not encourage or carry out any copyright infringement or partake in similar behavior.