Minnie Wang
May 6, 2024

Bilibili’s Youth Day video stirs plagiarism claims

Bilibili disputes the plagiarism claims on the video, which has already garnered over a million views on the platform.

Four years ago, in 2020, Chinese video site Bilibili made a video in conjunction with Youth Day to tap into audiences beyond its youthful existing user base.

Four years later, Bilibili released a new satirical advertisement video titled ‘The Great Magician’ (or Magic Max, translated by a Bilibili user) on May 4, China’s Youth Day. This new video was a bold stand against misinformation and fake news online.

The video is based on the message that “to make progress is to pursue the truth”. Its objective is to raise awareness among Chinese internet users to be cautious of deceptive videos made to look like short TV series but are actually fabricated online news stories.

In response to fake news and misinformation on the Chinese internet, Bilibili’s parody video references popular topics and trending words to remind people to stay away from deceptive content.

Chinese agency Blank produced the video together with the Bilibili in-house team. The video—just under four minutes—was uploaded on various social media platforms and hit around 1.5 million views on the Bilibili site alone. On Tencent’s WeChat platform, the video got over 100,000 forwards and over 100,000 likes, and on Chinese Weibo, with more than 62.81 million views.

However, following the video’s release, a director named Wen Fang claimed in a video that Bilibili’s Youth Day video had plagiarised his original idea that was pitched to the video platform during a pitch.

In response to Fang’s video, Blank, Bilibili’s agency, promptly issued a statement and said:

From the moment we received the brief at 10:30 pm on April 2nd, all original ideas and text creation were the joint efforts from Blank and Bilibili. Furthermore, the script was co-created by Blank and the film’s director, Chen Majun.

The statement not only refuted Fang’s allegations of copyright infringement but also emphasised that “the entire process of producing the movie was transparent and open” and reminded the audience to “pursue the truth and keep thinking rationally”, echoing the sentiments expressed in the Youth Day video.

In a subsequent statement, Bilibili asserted that the film was an original work and “there is no plagiarism”. The statement clearly acknowledged that the film contained parodies and pastiches inspired by the 2001 black comedy film Big Shot’s Funeral directed by Chinese director Feng Xiaofang. Bilibili also expressed its tribute to the director and the actor involved in that film.

In the same statement, Bilibili explained that director Fang presented his idea on April 3, which isn’t similar to the winning solution proposed by Blank. The main elements of both proposals were disclosed. Bilibili chose Blank's programme, and the agency won the bid.

Moreover, Bilibili said that it “reserved the right to take legal action against director Wen Fang for his unfounded accusations, and hope that he will immediately withdraw his accusations and apologise”.

Here is a version of the video with English subtitles, translated by Bilibili user Zuobotao & Yangjiaoai.

Campaign Asia

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