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Exclusive: Peppa Pig owner slams 'groundless' Vietnam lobbying

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The claims come after the Vietnamese government was told that YouTube’s policies have caused damage to the maker of the ‘Wolfoo’ cartoon

The Peppa Pig franchise owner has written to the Vietnamese government in response to ministers being asked to stop YouTube from taking down allegedly infringing material, it has been revealed this week.

In a letter sent to several departments, including the Ministry of Information and Communication and the Ministry of Science and Technology, UK-based eOne described requests by the Vietnam Digital Communications Association (VDCA) as “totally groundless and unreasonable”.

The entertainment company said ministers had essentially been told to intervene in Google and YouTube’s international copyright policies.

The letter said: “While we are not speaking on behalf of YouTube, we learned from YouTube's terms of service that any right holders (including eOne) have the right to file a complaint, requesting for removal or blocking of a content from the platform if the right holder believes that the distribution of that content infringes upon their rights.”

It also clarified that at no time had eOne attempted to claim ownership of any Wolfoo episodes, which are produced by SConnect, a company embroiled in a trademark and copyright dispute with eOne.

It added: “It is our strong belief that SConnect's request to the ministers are totally groundless and unreasonable. Any disagreements or disputes on the issues is not an administrative but a civil matter that should be resolved by a competent court.”

Earlier this month, the VDCA – an industry body focused on protecting and developing digital technology – said it had contacted YouTube-owner Google and the Vietnamese government on behalf of video maker SConnect.

The VDCA claimed that eOne’s takedown requests related to SConnect’s Wolfoo cartoon, and the subsequent acceptance of said requests, were causing heavy damage.

The dispute forms part of an ongoing battle between eOne and SConnect. In January, eOne sued SConnect at the England and Wales High Court. It alleged copyright and trademark infringement and passing off.

SConnect is the creator of various YouTube shows, including Wolfoo, which features a cartoon wolf and its friends.

In its submissions, the VDCA asked the government to consider the “heavy damage” SConnect was suffering from intermediaries such as YouTube and Facebook acting on takedown requests.

It suggested that the status quo of both companies should remain intact until a formal ruling from the High Court.

It also wrote to Lien Nguyen, a Vietnam-based senior policy adviser at Google, asking YouTube to support SConnect’s business operations in Vietnam.

Managing IP has contacted the VDCA for comment.

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