UIC Review of Intellectual Property Law


The United States still faces a disconnect with China regarding intellectual property piracy. Particularly, with regards to shanzhai copyrightable works of art, the U.S. labels these fake works as knock-offs, rip-offs, and counterfeits. However, China views shanzhai as a unique form of copying that embraces the “Chinese spirit,” due to its constant modification and hybridization, superior quality, transformativeness, and democratic energies. By understanding the peculiarities of shanzhai, both physical and abstract, as well as China’s copyright law and tradition, this paper proposes ways on how China can improve their copyright laws to improve how shanzhai is perceived and to curb the issue of piracy.