Chinese Disneyland rip-off cleaning up copyright violations?

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    This morning’s Japanese news reported from the scene of the now infamous Shijingshan Amusement Park, where an amazing change had taken place. After foreign media coverage of the amusement park’s blantant unauthorized use of Disney characters, the park was taking action:

    According to the report, Disney characters which had been wandering the park only a few days ago had suddenly disappeared, and the banner that said “Disneyland is too far” had just been replaced with an alternative slogan about celebrating spring. In addition workers are seen smashing some Disney rip-off statues! When the park’s operators were asked to comment, they denied that any change had taken place because of foreign media coverage, after all, the foreign media was mistaken in its claim that they had copied Disney characters!

    More details on this can be found in an AP report on Forbes.com:

    Over the weeklong May Day holiday, the Shijingshan Amusement Park filled its grounds on Beijing’s western suburbs with actors in costumes that resembled Disney and other foreign characters.

    A video shot by Japan’s FTV on May 1 showed children cavorting with Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Japan’s Hello Kitty and Doraemon.

    A banner over the entrance said, “Disney is too far, so please come to Shijingshan.”

    On Wednesday, the banner was down and none of the cartoon characters were on display. An employee who would give only her surname, Li, said the performances usually occur during the summer and holidays.

    Lawyers for the park and the Walt Disney Co. (nyse: DIS – news – people ) were in negotiations, said Yin, the deputy general manager of the park, which is owned by the government of Beijing’s Shijingshan District.

    “The results will come out in a couple of days,” he said.

    [...]

    Despite the striking similarities to foreign characters, Yin insisted the Beijing park’s are all locally designed.

    “Take our Cinderella as an example. The face of Disney’s Cinderella face is European, but ours is a Chinese. She looks like a young Chinese country girl,” he said.

    At the center of the park is a building labeled “Cinderella’s Castle” on park maps. It bears a striking resemblance to the original at Disneyland in California.

    In a mixup of cartoon images, the castle ticket booth is built to look like Snow White, while a nearby statue of a woman with seven dwarves is the golden-haired Sleeping Beauty.

    On Wednesday, two workmen with sledgehammers could be seen tearing down the Sleeping Beauty statue.

    Yin, the deputy general manager, refused to say why.

    No word yet on the countless other foreign products and works being copied without permission in China….

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