Hong Kong is in the news again, which isn’t a surprise. Apparently Gucci is upset that its trademark is being infringed upon in stores that sell paper goods–like this one–which are burned at grave sites for good luck in the afterworld. Notice the Maserati in the bottom of the photo? Luxury to the max.
As a writer, I appreciate copyright law just as much as the next person. But in this case, I think Gucci should give a little leeway in the name of cultural awareness. Hong Kong is a huge market for luxury brand names like Gucci. I mean huge.
So if people want to burn paper shoes with the Gucci label, how is that going to harm the brand? Burning paper goods is a central part of Chinese culture when it comes to funerals and wishing loved ones a prosperous journey in the afterworld. It’s not like these goods are going to be used for anything other than funeral traditions.
Sometimes a little awareness goes a long way. If Gucci is to remain a beloved brand in Asia, I think the company should understand its market a little better.
What do you think? Are there exceptions to copyright law? And does this even fall under intellectual property rights?