In a press conference yesterday, a government official from MIIT (Ministry of Industry and Information Technology) said “Shanzhai” is also a kind of innovation. (The person is Yang Xue-shan, a Vice Minister of MIIT. And here is the the article about in it. http://tech.163.com/10/1201/03/6MPP67GH000915BD.html)

He thought as long as there is no infringement of copyright, the production of “Shanzhai” products should be encouraged. For readers who don’t know what “Shanzhai” means, maybe you cannot see the irony. But, “Shanzhai”, in fact, means copycat.

So, how could a copycat product not infringe copyright?? A professor in Foreign Trade University explained, it is because many of such copycats do not do a perfect job. They are not exactly like the real ones in close examination. For example, currently, “Shanzhai” iPad is a hot item in the market. But, in fact, the “Shanzhai” version of iPads use Google’s Android as operating system. So, strictly speaking, there is no copyright infringement. It even has a bit of innovation, as the manufacturer changes the OS to Android.

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Sherman So

Author of Red Wired: China's Internet Revolution, the first book to completely survey the nature of China's internet. (http://redwiredrevolution.com/) She previously was the lead China technology reporter...