Sunday, November 6, 2011

Property Rights

Photo: Michael Hale

"Three Canadian writers filed suit last week against Penguin Canada’s parent company, Pearson Canada, alleging that its newly published English-language edition of Gold Mountain Blues infringes their copyrights. Wayson Choy, Sky Lee and Paul Yee are suing for $6-million, saying [Ling] Zhang’s book contains numerous elements copied from their work, including characters, plots and descriptions. Their statement of claim, which contains allegations not proven in court, gives several examples of similarities, including the story of a disfigured railway worker who saves his foreman from death, which appears in Choy’s 1995 novel The Jade Peony; the story of a Chinese man rescued by a girl of Chinese-native heritage, which appears in Lee’s 1990 novel Disappearing Moon Cafe; and the story of a Chinese boy rescued from bullies by his white employer, which appears in Yee’s 2004 young-adult novel The Bone Collector’s Son. [...]
     'We want to see the evidence and we will apologize if we are wrong,' Choy says. 'We don’t like this ... I react with anger, but some of us have reacted with tears.' " — Kate Taylor, The Globe and Mail

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