NANJING, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Two companies in eastern China have been ordered to pay 130,000 yuan (18,878 U.S. dollars) in compensation for copyright infringement of the popular Japanese cartoon character Doraemon.
A Shanghai-based company, which owns the copyright on the Chinese mainland, sued the companies in Zhenjiang city, Jiangsu Province, for using the Doraemon images without authorization. It asked for compensation of 550,000 yuan, according to a statement from Zhenjiang City Intermediate People's Court.
The two companies displayed Doraemon models in a co-managed public square near a central business district in January 2016, which "could generate huge commercial benefits," according to the acting lawyer of the Shanghai company.
The defendants argued that they rented the models to "just enliven holiday spirit," and no commercial behavior was involved. They erased the display before the court session started in order to stop the copyright infringement.
However, the court decided that the defendants infringed the plaintiff's rights of display and information dissemination.
"Images such as Doraemon and minions are everywhere, but that does not mean that such images can be used at random," a court judge said.
Doraemon is a blue cartoon cat that produces toys from a magic pocket on his stomach. He is one of the most popular cartoon characters in China.