Since then, according to the media three table Longmen array verification, in the "black hole photo" source - the European Southern Observatory (ESO) official website, you can download high-resolution images in TIF format, while ESO also made a CC4.0 agreement on copyright, as long as Indicate the source of the image: EHT Collaboration, free to use, not commercial or non-commercial.
It can be said that Visual China's move is to use pictures of the public domain for commercial purposes. Another user found that there are paid pictures on the visual China website including the national flag, national emblem and leader avatar. On the afternoon of April 11, the official microblog of the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League asked Visual China: "Is the copyright of the national flag and national emblem also your company?"
In response, Visual China officially issued an apology statement, indicating that non-compliant images such as the national flag of the national flag were provided by the contracted contributors, and have been offline, and will continue to strengthen the review in accordance with relevant laws and regulations to avoid similar situations.
Before the name of the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League, Haier has been included.SuningA number of corporate officials, including Baidu, posted Weibo, saying that their company did not authorize Visual China to use related images, but it was also marked with copyright.
Many other companies, from the media, etc. jumped out to accuse Visual China of abusing copyright claims and “blackmailing” profits.
After a day of fermentation, the visual Chinese website could not be opened around 20 o'clock last night. As of press time, it has not been restored.
In the early morning of the 11th, regarding the non-compliance picture on the website, Visual China said through the official Weibo: At present, the company has taken measures to deal with the non-compliance pictures, and voluntarily closed the website according to relevant laws and regulations to carry out rectification and further strengthen Enterprise self-discipline, strengthen system construction, improve the quality of content review, and avoid similar situations from happening again. On the evening of April 11, the Tianjin Internet Information Office interviewed the person in charge of the website in response to the illegal dissemination of illegal and harmful information on the website of the China Internet. The website was ordered to immediately stop the violations of laws and regulations and thoroughly rectify the situation.
In this regard, intellectual property lawyer Zhu Bao told all-weather technology that there is nothing wrong with maintaining copyright itself, and using the “public domain” image for commercial purposes is difficult to pursue from the legal level. If the media person recognizes Visual China’s “blackmail” and feels “grievance” for the previous copyright compensation, the only way to counter the visual China through the law is to conduct joint litigation in the name of “unfair business”, but the lawsuit consumes material and financial resources. There have been few successful cases in the country.
The People’s Daily official Wei Wei also commented on the matter last night: “Visual China” off-line flag, national emblem and other non-compliant pictures and apologize. What kind of pictures can I charge? It’s quite meaningful to explore it. When copyright protection became a consensus, no one denied that the photographs had copyright. The question is, is copyright really true? Does the platform have a clean copyright pool? Can the business model stand up to scrutiny? Avoiding copyright protection as a “black hole” is as important as promoting copyright payments. Later, the picture was also ridiculed: "Don't dare to match the picture."
Visual China's "customary tricks"
Visual China has caused public outrage. On the one hand, it has used a large number of "public domain" pictures for commercial purposes. On the other hand, it has used these pictures to hold on to the "infringers", a large number of claims, and tens of thousands of pictures per picture. The compensation fee and the company is required to sign an annual use contract.
For example, in the "black hole" picture, Visual China does not have a complete claim for the "black hole" image, but abuses this power, causing many media and corporate practices that do not understand intellectual property.
The "Copyright Law of the People's Republic of China" stipulates that works that have entered the "public domain", authorized by loose agreements such as "knowledge sharing", and other circumstances stipulated by law, may not be paid without the permission of the copyright owner. Remuneration, but other incidental provisions should be observed.
Intellectual property lawyer Zhao Shuling also mentioned about all-weather technology. Regarding the "black hole" photos, Visual China has been authorized to transfer, but it cannot be used for commercial purposes. For the "national flag and national emblem" picture discussed later, since the shooting angle is unique from the front and vertical angles, there is no originality, and the pictures taken by anyone are almost the same. The picture does not conform to the original elements of the photographic work, that is, originality, so there is no copyright at all.
As early as July 2018, Zhang Ying, the managing partner of Jingwei China, once blamed Weibo on the microblog. Visual China developed the "Eagle Eye" system, usually a small negligence or a picture, not accepting deletion, but a long day. The asking price asks for hundreds of thousands of yuan in huge compensation, and the company must sign an annual contract.
He said that from the point of view of the company's income, it is said that "the battle is fruitful." "Infringement really shouldn't be, but this kind of business model is more important, and it has become the core business model of this company. It is also funny."
According to the information provided by Qiangyun Data, since 2013, Visual China and its subsidiaries have involved more than 1,000 lawsuits, all of which are copyright ownership, infringement disputes or disputes over network communication rights. In the litigation stage, most of the cases in which Visual China relied on the US digital media service provider Getty Images to provide copyright evidence, the case involved compensation of about 6.24 million yuan.
Vision China has disclosed that in 2017, the number of potential customers discovered through the “Eagle Eye” system increased by more than 84% compared with the same period of 2016. The number of new annual agreements reached through the “Eagle Eye” increased by more than 54% over the same period.
The eagle eye makes Visual China "ingeniously" link the two businesses together - on the one hand, by collecting pictures to expand the library, on the other hand, through the eagle eye to monitor the infringement of pictures through various channels, immediately send a lawyer's letter , claim.
The editor-in-chief of a new media app startup team mentioned to all-weather technology that the company has received a letter from Visual China twice because of image infringement. “One is a picture of a company, and one is a very common concept picture. We all think it should be a picture of the public domain.” However, the final team reached a settlement at a price close to 10 times the price, “because if China is visually In the case of infringement appeals to app stores such as the Apple Store, the app will soon be removed."
The editor-in-chief also mentioned that in the process of communication, the relevant person in charge of Visual China also mentioned many times that he can purchase his annual service. But the company did not agree at the end.
The effect of this "industry chain" is also directly reflected in the visual report of China.
The financial report shows that from the beginning of the 2018 to the third quarter, the company's consolidated operating income was 701 million yuan, an increase of 20.97% over the same period of 2017, and a net profit of 220 million yuan, an increase of 35.31% over the same period in 2017. In addition, Visual China's 2015-2017 revenues were 543 million yuan, 735 million yuan, and 815 million yuan respectively; the net profit attributable to shareholders of listed companies was 158 million yuan, 215 million yuan, and 291 million yuan.
Among the many revenue sources, the core business “Visual Content and Services” currently contributes 80% of the company's revenue. In the first three quarters of 2018, this business brought 573 million yuan in revenue to Visual China, and 223 million yuan in net revenue. profit.
In the industry's view, Visual China's business model is to use the guise of maintaining intellectual property rights to gain customers and generate revenue.
An expert in the field of intellectual property mentioned that the copyright library of Visual China and Getty Images should only exist in the professional user market. The main users should be advertising companies, designers and big news media organizations, and visual China is the most wrong. The problem is that a small B2B business is artificially spread to the mass user market, so that ordinary users can use it without their knowledge. Copyright information is difficult to trace.
"Visual China does not provide a fault-tolerant mechanism, but instead uses litigation to make income, excessive pursuit of interests, and lost the spirit of Internet sharing," he said.
It is difficult to characterize "unfair competition"
Vision China, which is expanding rapidly in the picture market, first appeared in Getty Images, the world's largest photo gallery. Its predecessor, photocome, was only a small photo website, but through the establishment of a joint venture with Getty Images, Visual China won a lot of image copyright.
In 2014, Visual China's backdoor Far East shares were listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. At present, the two core wholly-owned subsidiaries of Vision China are Huagai Creative, and the other is Hanhua Yimei, both of which are agents of Getty, which represent Getty creative pictures and editorial pictures in China (news photo) .
In the semi-annual report of 2018, Visual China outlined the results and actively promoted the globalization strategy and became a true "global player." After acquiring the world's third largest photo library Corbis and the internationally renowned photography community 500px, Vision China clearly stated that it will "fully participate" in the operation of the global photographer network platform.
At that time, Chai Jijun directly stated that "Vision China has become one of the world's largest Internet copyright trading platforms for visual content."
Earlier, in a report in the "Securities Times" "Visual China": The King or the Gonson, it was mentioned that Visual China and Getty Images behind it acquired the profits of the fishermen. This is for several acquired communities, and this has a unique positioning and image source for several acquired photo communities, but the commercialization of the transition has affected the further development of the platform.
Although it caused a lot of dissatisfaction, lawyer Zhu Bao mentioned that these condemnations are mostly on the moral level, and it is difficult to qualitatively visualize China. For example, Baidu, Haier and other companies accuse Visual China of using the company's pictures for commercial purposes. "But these pictures have entered the public domain, and how the public and visual China use it, the company itself has been difficult to pursue."
At the same time, the lawyer mentioned that although visual China does have the possibility of “monopoly” and unfair competition, it is difficult to determine the nature. If the new media wants to conduct a joint lawsuit, "the time is long and the cost is high, and most companies will choose to break the bankruptcy and avoid disasters."
There are also photographers who condemn Visual China for the amount of litigation. A visual Chinese signing photographer mentioned that “exclusively signing a contract for Visual China has an exclusive license for intellectual property issues to Visual China, which basically locks down the possibility of most photographers appealing on their own.” Lawyer Zhu Bao It is mentioned that the dispute between the photographer and the visual China is based on the contract. If the photographer has already transferred the relevant matters at the time of signing the contract, it is likely that the relevant compensation will not be obtained.
"If you really go to court, Visual China will almost win the game." Zhu Bao believes that 20 years ago, China has almost no lawsuits against portrait rights and photo copyrights, and public awareness of intellectual property rights is weak. "These galleries have appeared to help photographers maintain copyright to a certain extent, but in the case of Visual China, the original intention of the platform has been deviated because of too much interest."
Author | Ma Cheng Edit | Luo Lijuan