The Art Copyright Coalition, the first nonprofit organization of publishers and artists to pursue copyright violators, spent three days at the April 2013 Canton Fair and Jinhan Fair in Guangzhou, China searching for copyright infringed artwork. During the visit, the coalition found more than 40 infringing exhibitors, an amount similar to their findings five months ago, though the total number of counterfeit images has decreased.
Six publishing and licensing companies united for the cause: U.S.-based Wild Apple and World Art Group; International Graphics and Kunstanstalten May AG of Germany; United Kingdom’s Rosenstiels; and Top Art in Italy.
“For any one of our small businesses, fighting copyright infringers on our own would be an overwhelming prospect,” said Lonnie Lemco of World Art Group. “Working together with other art publishers helps sustain our sense of mission, and it makes a much bigger impact on the companies stealing our artwork. It’s still difficult and expensive, but we are seeing some positive results.”
The coalition reported that many infringing companies were cooperative when asked to remove counterfeit artwork. Jinhan Fair organizers also assisted the coalition after receiving formal documentation of copyright ownership.
“The amount of paperwork we had to do to ‘prove’ legal copyright for some of our images was extremely time-consuming,” said Wild Apple owner John Chester. “But it was worth it to show an obstinate counterfeiter that we are serious about enforcing our copyrights.”
The Art Copyright Coalition will continue their work at the October fairs in China.