Saturday, October 24, 2015

Vietnamese teenage magazine: Muc Tim stole Evacomics artwork and refused to admit

I was alerted on 4 September from a fan in Vietnam, who wanted to verify with me if I had given permission for this magazine called "Muc Tim" to use my comics because they had been appearing for several issues. I was shocked and replied no. Because I don't understand any Vietnamese, I posted the above on my Facebook page to seek help to contact the publisher to settle this issue.

After fans bombarded their FB page, they were forced to reply me the next day with a gmail account from someone with an unknown job title saying it was a technical mistake and their head is on vacation...

My lawyer friend told me it doesn't look right and I should demand their editor contact me through a proper company email. So I requested and their editor contacted me to ask for my bank account information to transfer my royalty and said they will also publish an apology on issue #37. I gave them my account number and asked how much they will be paying. At the same time, fans were also sending me more photos from other issues with my artwork inside. UNFORTUNATELY, MUC TIM DID NOT REPLY TO DISCUSS THE FEES NOR ADMIT THAT THEY STOLE MY COMICS AND SO MANY OF THEM!

Then on 21 Sep, I received a transfer of US$50 for "royalties". They did not discuss with me at all about how much to compensate and just passed me US$50... (maybe to shut me up?)

Let's see what happened in each issue...

ISSUE #31:
 They coloured my hair blonde...BLONDE!?!?!?

ISSUE #32:
Don't they think it's weird my hair is brown and then blonde!? BLONDE?!?!?
They even started to mix and match my comics to form new stories!?

ISSUE #33:
I see that they don't want to colour my comics anymore, no longer fun?

 ISSUE #34:
I guess they started to like this more refined version. Of course, I spent days on each strip.

 ISSUE #35:
They even dug up my older comic strips that I posted on my Facebook in 2011...

 ISSUE #36:
Then they decided to rip off my yoga comics...

ISSUE #37:
When it was time for issue #37, which they promised to publish the apology, I emailed them again to ask for at least a photo or scan of it as proof, but nope, they IGNORED ME. I had no choice but to contact a copyright expert in Vietnam, who offered to help me on pro bono basis! He already bought many past copies to gather evidence and obtained #37 for me. Of course, I asked him to translate:

"Due to a technical mistake, MT did not write the author's name Evacomics on the comics in issues #31 and #34. We sincerely apologise to Evacomics and readers."

First of all...
IT IS NOT
A TECHNICAL MISTAKE. 

Secondly...
MY NAME IS
EVANGELINE NEO,
EVACOMICS IS MY BRAND.
BOTH SHOULD BE PUBLISHED. 

Thirdly...
NOT JUST ISSUES #31 AND #34
BUT #31 TO #36 (6 ISSUES)


Actually I was wondering if I should just give up, because I have a lot of other things to do. But if I don't do anything means I support Vietnamese companies continue stealing other artist work and not compensate them properly for it. We spent a lot of time and money to work on our art, and we should be respected and get our share of money when companies profit from it. For the better future of artists in Vietnam to get their deserved copyright protection, as well as a warning to all thieves worldwide stealing our artwork, I should at least fight for something.

So we contacted Muc Tim again about issuing a proper apology and compensation but we were both IGNORED. We have no choice but to raise public awareness that this case has not been resolved and Muc Tim should not ignore us!

★Please help by sharing this article or the Vietnamese version: http://evacomics.blogspot.com/2015/10/tap-chi-danh-cho-tuoi-tin-viet-nam-muc.html
Large images are also available via Vietnam IPR Infringement community:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.506629259510837.1073741829.503346103172486&type=1&l=d2fca22efa


If you discover more of my stolen artwork on Muc Tim, please use hashtag #evacomicsvsmuctim so I can discover you. Thank you!

Muc Tim's website: http://www.muctim.com.vn
Muc Tim's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/tapchimuctim

Credits: First image photo by Phuc Dinh, subsequent photos from issues #31-37 taken by Doanh.

-----------------------------
Updates (26 Oct):

Dear all, thank you very much for your great support and sharing of my posts and articles! I received a favourable reply from Muc Tim Magazine. However I will need some time to consider. As you know, they also emailed me last time and I was too quick to announce that everything is settled. I will update everyone on the latest news. Updates in Vietnamese can also be found on Vietnam IPR Infringement.

-----------------------------
Updates (27 Oct):

Thank you everyone for your support these days!
It is confirmed that we have reached a good agreement with Muc Tim Magazine​ and is resolving this issue. I will be setting aside some of the money to do meaningful things in Vietnam by returning back to society and thanking my fans (more details after I return from my Japan trip).

I would also like to thank Doanh Nguyen from Vietnam IPR Infringement​, who had been working hard all these time to help me translate, provide documents and advise me on what to do. The most amazing thing is he is willing to do all these for pro bono basis to help artists whose intellectual property are infringed in Vietnam. Through this case I feel the warmth and friendliness from everybody in Vietnam and fans all over the world. #faithinIPprotectionRestored

This case is temporary closed and I will update again on the first week of November with Muc Tim's official apology on their magazine.

Thank you everybody! :D

29 comments:

  1. They are complete idiots. They continue to post your comics without prior agreement even after admitting it via e-mail? Get a lawyer and sue them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To what end? Even if their court of law awarded damages, she will not see a single cent. There are Google, Apple, Microsoft stores that sell clothing lining their streets and shopping areas. This is their culture, and copyright is unheard of. All that matters is how much money you have.

      That doesn't mean that I do not feel sympathy for Eva. Small consolation is that they found your comics good enough to publish to their readers. Don't lose sleep over this.

      Delete
    2. Many people thought suing people is easy, but it costs a lot of money. Actually I have nothing to lose since there is someone in Vietnam who is willing to help me on pro bono basis. I am not too concerned about getting money back but it is more about ethics that this practice should not be condoned . Many Vietnamese artists are encouraging me to fight because they are disappointed that their creations can be stolen anytime and there is nothing they can do about it. Also, if I don't do anything, it is like sending message to everyone that it is ok to steal my work. I only lost 4 hours of sleep preparing and writing this article, but now I sleep ;)

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    3. I can respect that you are willing to fight for what is right. But I hope you can take my word for it that it is a waste of time to do so in Vietnam. It is mind boggling how deep the roots of corruption are entrenched in there. It is part of their culture, openly practiced. As for your pro bono lawyer, good on him. But don't be surprised that when he moves your case forward, there will come a time when he receives threats. It is simply how they operate. I have seen it often enough.

      Delete
    4. Hey no problem, many people already told me it's useless to fight, but like I said, it's also not good if we don't do anything. Well I trust he knows what he is doing and advise me to do.

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    5. Hey Anonymous , i can sure you come from VN :v . Stop protect the wrong things. Thank if you listen.Good day.

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    6. I like your spirit, but it's worthwhile to heed the crowd, especially the locals. Your good name has been taken lightly because they haven't considered you a threat, or not even heard your name. Yet. You need to understand, this press is a subsidiary of the communist government and is very well connected from high way up, so infighting maybe indeed useless. it's like throwing eggs at a large stone. I don't advise you to give up, but to change your approach. Maybe a comic series about this incident and have it gone viral? Every country likes to see its flags featured in every corners of the 'world', you know what I mean ;)

      You could always use an "artist mark" hidden in the details of every piece of art you make that only you can do and understand. I'm sure you already knew that, but it's maybe the only way should all else fails.

      You are not alone in this quest for justice, many have tried and failed. It'll be interesting to see if you succeed. I wish you luck.

      Delete
    7. Go public with your story to Tuoitre or one of the other english translated news sources.

      You will get much further with public shame.

      But other commenters are correct, there is zero respect for Intellectual Property here. And there is very little you could do legally.

      That you got $50 is pretty lucky.

      Delete
    8. I respect you for fighting but its really useless to fight using the Vietnamese law system. If you hire a lawyer in Vietnam he/she will just do his/her best to prolong the case. The same applied to the court in order to drain your money.In my oppion the better way to settle this issue is either you know some higher power who willing to support you or use an more "international" method like using foreign media in order to seek justice.
      Wish the best for your case

      Delete
  2. That is highly messed up. You would think that you would credit the source; so that anyone could go to the source material instead of crediting yourself or in this case the magazine. Reading this it makes me unsure if I want to post any original artwork online. I have a story that I would like to publish, either it's online and/or in a physical book. I'll probably wait until I'm done with my story so that I know any original events that can't be claimed by someone else.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a double edged sword. Supposed that you are going to have a book, you got to start marketing on the day you have the idea. If you don't post anything, nobody is going to know about you or your book until the day when it is launched, which will be too late. My best fight against piracy is to build a substantial fan base where your fans will fight with you against thieves.

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  3. I am Vietnamese an I beg you:
    Sue their a$$ please!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will listen to what my copyright expert advise, but thank you for your support!

      Delete
  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. As an artist myself, I feel outrageous when I read about this matter. As you had stated, it was their fault not to credit the author in the first place. But I'm even more angry when they mixed and matched your comic, sent you some "quiet" money, then kept doing it. I don't live in Vietnam but thank you so much for bringing this matter to the bright light to help push copyright issue for Vietnamese artists. they really need justice.

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  6. Not many people in Việt Nam read Muctim. it's a boring magazine (in my opinion). may be they're lazy to create their own so they have to steal your artwork.
    we Vietnamese very appreciate you to do that, always support for your effort. but please don't think so pessimistic about us. not all the people like them. Try your best, Evangeline Neo. Love U.

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  7. I think we should encourage people to boycott their magazines, instead of suing them in court, which will cause you a lot of money. People should just avoid buying their product just to show their support of doing what is right.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Not many people in Vietnam read Muctim, it's a boring magazine (in my opinion). may be they're lazy to create their own so they steal your artwork.
    We VietNamese very appreciate you doing that, always support for your effort. But please don't think so pessimistic about us. Try your best, Evangeline Neo. Love U

    ReplyDelete
  9. That's very idiotic and childish to do of the magazine. You didn't do anything wrong. I know how that feels when someone steals without credits or anything, and won't reply to you. I don't get it why they do that, they could make their own series. Sorry for bad English ^^''

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  10. I must tell you this. It's never useless to fight. And you should fight for what's rightfully yours. Else the art thief will all consider their wrong doing is ok and our artists suffer

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  11. I'm a vietnamese, it's sad to know one of my favorite childhood magazine is becoming a retarded thief. Got photographers friends whose photos constantly got stolen without any notice or payment, I totally know how it feels. Please sue them, you got our support from Vietnam.

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  12. Dear EVANGELINE NEO,
    I completely agree with you about respecting the artist's works. Muc Tim is a big magazine in Vietnam for teenagers and they should act more professionally. I don't like the way they treat you. Please sue them! You have evidence! We're all known that you have too many other things to do, but you need to pay your time and attention on this case. Sue them! Tech them a good lession about respecting the copy-right.

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  13. I dont know if there's any update from this case, but on Facebook page of the magazine, all posts and comments (written in Vietnamese) that are related to your infringement case are deleted by the page's administrator.
    There's also 1 article written about your case on one of the biggest Vietnam news site, Tuoitre Online (roughly translated as Youth Online), which is also removed after about 2 hours. I still have the cache of the article, I can provide screenshot and translate it if you want.

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  14. Plz keep on fighting. I live in Vietnam, i know this magazine, and i really feel ashame for what they've done. These kind of copyright violations happened in a long time and seem won't stop. I'm studying to be a graphic designer so i know what you feel. Keep on fighting and show them that we have the right to earn our money.

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  15. copyrigth thief is the magazin

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  16. You could contact the embassy of Vietnam and ask for help. You coud tell them thats not cool that people could think and feel that in Vietnam lives thiefs or that the goverment of Vietnam tolerate thiefs. Sometimes it helps.
    Good luck.

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  17. MT magazine is used to be one of the best magazines for teenagers in the past, but nowadays, MT is just a thief. They used to have good and work-hard authors, but now the old authors no longer stayed and continued their life. I'm really sorry that you have to experience this. I'm a Vietnamese but i feel embarrased and ashamed of what 'it' has done to you.
    I wish you all the best and hope 'it' will give a proper apoplogy.

    ReplyDelete

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