A renowned author yesterday presented a petition to Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), who is on a 10-day visit to Taiwan with the goal of achieving exchanges in the creative industries, accusing China-based publishers of pirating his work without paying royalties and demanding respect for the copyrights and moral rights of Taiwanese writers.
Lu Tzu-yang (呂自揚) said he published a three-volume Analysis of Poetry and Quotations from the Past (歷代詩詞名句析賞探源) between 1979 and 1981 through his own publishing house, Hopan Book Publishing, with a three-in-one version of the book released in 1984.
Lu said the book became a bestseller and the first pirated version came out in Taiwan in 1982.
Despite taking the case to the court, Lu said it took 15 years of legal wrangling for him to be compensated.
However, in 1994, China’s Mongolian People’s Publishing House re-edited the three-in-one pirated version into a two-volume book and released it. A domestic publisher also adapted the revised pirated edition and printed it in Taiwan, Lu said.
Lu then took the domestic publisher to to court, but the lawsuit took nine years to reach a final ruling in Taiwan’s High Court.
In addition to the Mongolian People’s Publishing House, Lu said the Chinese state-owned Beijing Writers Press also launched a pirated copy of its own that did not alter a word from his original, but simply converted the traditional Chinese characters into simplified Chinese.
“The simplified Chinese edition [by the Beijing Writers Press] has sold more than 1 million copies. Yet, what is more absurd is that the edition is not only available in Taiwan, but is also being stored in the libraries of National Taiwan University, National Taiwan Normal University and -National Cheng Kung University,” Lu said.
“While these pirated editions are flying off the shelves in China, I do not receive a penny in royalties,” Lu said, adding that he had submitted two petitions in the past six months to the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) to forward to ARATS, but neither have been responded to.
Calling on the foundation to honor the Cross-Strait Intellectual Property Right Protection Cooperation Agreement signed in 2010 and relevant regulations stipulated by the National Copyright Administration of China, Lu urged the foundation to help discipline Chinese publishing houses that engaged in acts of piracy, call for respect of the copyrights and moral rights of Taiwanese authors, demand royalty payment and ban pirated publications.