I received an e-mail today from Josh Gartner over at the China Expat blog. The e-mail asserts that the world-renowned Confucius Institute is copying China Expat articles without any attribution whatsoever:
I have a story I thought you might find interesting. Recently I googled a story we did a couple of months ago about a Xinjiang musical group. Our article came up first, but the Confucius Institute Online came up second. They had posted our article in its entirety. So I went to their website and in a section called “Expat’s View” I found more than 50 articles taken in their entirety from our blog. There is another culture section that also has numerous articles from our site without giving us any credit. In addition, they also appear to have taken an article from Beijing Review, among many others.
Confucius Institute is an extremely rich organization with a virtually endless supply of government money. They have institutes set up in several dozen countries around the world, including thirteen in the US alone. We are a start-up website registered in Hong Kong dedicated to promoting Chinese culture and tourism. China Expat has not yet begun to accept advertising, and thus we have no revenue at all. It is shameful they would do this so brazenly. Please take a look at the links below to compare:
This entire page on the Institute’s site consists of articles taken from us.
This page on the Institute’s site was taken from this page on our site.
Here is the Beijing Review article they appear to have taken improperly from here.
I can give you dozens more examples. This site seems to confirm we are dealing with the official Institute site as there is a link on the left side to Linse.com.cn.
They seemed to especially steal from us, but other English publications were not exempt from this thievery. In an ironic twist they saw fit to steal a 2006 article from the Beijing Review on piracy in China. The author’s name is included (presumably because it was part of the text) but not the source.
China Expat sees the Confucius Institute’s actions as completely unjustified:
If China wants to shed its image as the wild-west of IPR, where stealing other people’s work is commonplace, it needs to shape up. Chinese often say that it is okay to buy copyrighted DVDs for 6 yuan because people here are poor and Hollywood is full of rich Americans. What can they say now that rich Chinese are stealing from poor foreigners?
China Expat quotes the Institute’s mission statement, listing one of its goals as “promoting greater understanding of Chinese culture” and remarks on it being “shameful” that when China “is making progress toward fixing the [intellectual property] problem … an organization making millions of dollars of year would choose to steal from a Hong-Kong based website that is only looking to promote China.”
As soon as this post has its own url, I will be e-mailing the good folks at the Institute to alert them to its publication and to offer them a full opportunity to respond.