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Tue June 4, 2013
The Two-Way

Rubber Ducky, You're (Not) The One. Hong Kong Quacker Spawns Others

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 2:39 pm

Perhaps it was inevitable. Given the huge popularity of the six-story, yellow rubber ducky that's been bobbing around in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour, companies in a number of mainland Chinese cities have decided to copy it.

New ducks have popped up in the central city of Wuhan, the ancient city of Xi'an, the northern port city of Tianjin and Hengdian, a town in Zhejiang province that is home to a massive movie studio.

The duck doubles have raised questions over copyright issues, according to China Daily.

When contacted by China Daily, the companies that set up the ducks in Tianjin and Wuhan "declined to reveal their motives, or say if they had the authorization to do so."

The newspaper adds:

"Li Jingjian, an intellectual property lawyer in Beijing, said the ducks may violate the rights of the designer or other entities holding rights to the original duck.

'Generally, if something resembles another thing and has made people believe that they are related, it can be seen as copyright infringement,' he said."

The man behind the original duck in Hong Kong, Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, told The Wall Street Journal that he had no copyright agreements with any of the knockoff duck-makers on the mainland.

"If people want the real duck, they have to come to me," he said.

While imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, Hofman said he wasn't at all amused by China's sudden overpopulation of giant ducks.

"I've always said the rubber duck is a yellow catalyst," he told the Journal. "Right now what it is showing is that there is a lack of trust in China, and that is an enormous problem."

As Mark Memmott has reported, Hong Kong's duck was temporarily deflated last month for maintenance.

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