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British Museum in hot water again: this time over copyright infringement

The British Museum in London
The British Museum in London Copyright Sang Tan/AP
Copyright Sang Tan/AP
By Katy Dartford
Published on Updated
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The British Museum has got itself into another row about one of its exhibits, this time over plagiarism.


The museum in London removed translations of poetry by a Chinese revolutionary in its' China’s Hidden Century exhibition after a translator alleged that her work was used without permission or payment.

Vancouver-based editor, poet, and translator Yilin Wang wrote on Twitter:

In response, the British Museum apologised for the “unintentional human error” and “offered financial payment for the period the translations appeared in the exhibition as well as for the continued use of quotations from their translations in the exhibition catalogue. The catalogue includes an acknowledgement of their work.”

Wang has posted on Twitter that the British Museum had told her it would not be reinstating her translations in the exhibition. 

Wang's erasure from the project clearly stung: China’s Hidden Century exhibition is the result of a four-year research project led by the British Museum and London University, in collaboration with over 100 scholars from 14 countries.

The social media campaign #NameTheTranslator launched by the Society of Authors has been around for a few years now and the British Museum seems to have accidentally slipped into its spotlight. 

The museum has also been in hot water over reparation disputes. 

The ruler of Ghana's Asante people recently requested they return gold items in their collection to his country.

Greece has also been demanding the return of the Parthenon Sculptures, sometimes known as the Elgin Marbles, for years.

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