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We-media needs to be cautious in using Olympics mascot images

english.bjinternetcourt.gov.cn | Updated: 2022-02-24


With the prevalent popularity of Bing Dwen Dwen and Shuey Rhon Rhon, the mascots of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, rights infringements of their images are often seen. The unauthorized use of those images by we-media is most likely an infringement. 

What rights do "Bing Dwen Dwen" and "Shuey Rhon Rhon" possess?

First, the two well-designed images reflect their creators' wisdom and inspiration and constitute works of fine art as stipulated in China's Copyright Law. Second, the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games (BOCOG) applied for a registered trademark and design patent for the two mascots and thus owns their trademark and design patent rights. Third, according to the Regulations on the Protection of Olympic Symbols, they are also Olympic symbols as mascots of the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics and their right holders enjoy the exclusive rights. 

The use of the Bing Dwen Dwen and Shuey Rhon Rhon images should be authorized by the BOCOG, holder of the aforementioned rights. 

What act may constitute infringement when we-media uses the mascot images?

From the copyright protection perspective, we-media accounts maybe protected by the copyright fair use system. But the fair use system only applies in the situations listed in Article 24 of the Copyright Law, and any use cannot affect the regular use of the works or unfairly damage the legitimate rights and interests of the copyright owner. 

For instance, a we-media account published an article online and used the Bing Dwen Dwen and Shuey Rhon Rhon images as a main picture, without authorization, to increase the attraction and readability of the article. This act most likely infringed the information dissemination rights of the two iconic images. Combining the two images with the self-made logo as the avatar of the we-media account also likely constitutes an infringement. 

In addition, uploading of short videos of the process of self-making Bing Dwen Dwen to we-media accounts is an attempt to attract viewership and is also a potential infringement.  

From the perspective of Olympic symbol protection, according to Article 4 of the Regulations on the Protection of the Olympic Symbols, no one can use the Olympic symbols for commercial purposes without the authorization of the rights holder. The abovementioned act qualifies as commercial purposes and thus authorization must be sought from the rights holder of the Olympic symbols.