Visual China earns 300 million yuan a year and 15.6 lawsuits a day.

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 Visual China earns 300 million yuan a year and 15.6 lawsuits a day.


Visual China has fallen into copyright black hole by labeling the first black hole photograph of mankind and pictures such as the national flag and emblem with copyright. Since April 11, the incident has continued to ferment.

Yesterday, Tianjin Network Information Office interviewed Visual China Website in accordance with the law, ordering the website to stop illegal acts immediately and completely rectify them. In this regard, Visual China once again issued an apology letter saying that it would completely rectify and temporarily shut down its website during this period. At the same time, the Oriental IC and Panoramic Network can not be opened normally.

What is the rights protection routine widely criticized in visual China? What is the impact of the incident on copyright management? How do legal experts comment on it? Beijing Youth Daily reporters will answer this one by one.

On April 11, visual China plunged into a black hole photo whirlpool of public opinion, and then was micro-named by the Communist Youth League Central Officer to profit from the flag and emblem pictures. Then a crowd of Blue V queued up to comment on their logo, which was also taken into account by visual China, even the figures in the history books.

With the continuous fermentation of the incident, on April 12, Tianjin Netcom Communications Office announced that it had interviewed the Visual China website overnight, ordered the website to stop illegal acts immediately, completely rectify, and set up a work supervision team to enter the Visual China website for supervision and inspection.

Visual China once again apologized for publishing Weibo, saying that it accepted the supervision and criticism of netizens and the media, and cooperated with the regulatory authorities to rectify the situation thoroughly and actively. At present, the company has taken measures to deal with all non-conforming pictures offline, and voluntarily shut down the website to carry out rectification in accordance with relevant laws and regulations.

Following the closure of Visual Chinas website and its rectification, the official websites of the photo website Oriental IC and Panorama have been unable to open one after another due to the impact of this incident. Some netizensscreenshots reveal that Oriental IC and Panorama also had a large number of pictures related to the national flag and emblem before, among which Oriental IC labeled these pictures as duty-free RF pictures, that is, royalty-free royalty version using copyright mode, which has the characteristics of one purchase, multiple use, and can not be transferred or sold again. Panoramic Network divides the size of flag pictures into various models, labeling advertising purposes and including standard authorized all uses, with a maximum price of 3000 yuan a year.

Yesterday evening, some netizens said that VEER, another copyright trading platform owned by Visual China, was still functioning normally. By inquiring about the information of the enterprises, the reporter of Beiqing Daily found that the website was indeed operated by the enterprises under Visual China. However, as of the time when the reporter of Beiqing Daily published the report, the VEER website, which claimed to be a royalty-free and international micromap provider, could not be opened properly.

On the same day, the State Copyright Administration issued a special announcement requiring photo companies to improve copyright management mechanism, regulate copyright operation, legitimately and reasonably safeguard rights, and not abuse rights. The State Copyright Administration said it would incorporate the copyright protection of pictures into the upcoming SwordNet 2019 special action to further regulate the copyright order of the picture market.

An average of 15.6 lawsuits per day in China

Eighty percent of the 156,000 lawsuits filed every day are plaintiffs.

Visual China is known as an Internet technology and literary creation company with the production, dissemination and copyright trading of visual content. According to incomplete statistics from Beijing Youth Daily, there have been nearly 10,000 lawsuits in the past five years. These data also reveal the real profit model of visual China.

According to the public data, one of the profit models of Visual China is to provide a full range of copyright trading and value-added services for producers and users in content ecology. According to the data of Visual China Financial Report, in the first three quarters of 2018, the revenue of Visual Chinas Visual Content and Services sector accounted for 81.81% of the total revenue of listed companies, and realized business income of 570 million yuan, an increase of 34.48% over the same period of last year. The net profit of this business was 230 million yuan, an increase of 43.74% over the same period of last year. As profits and revenues grow, there are also the number of lawsuits in Visual China.

Beijing Youth Daily reporter through the inquiry found that visual Chinas Hanhua Yimei and Huagai creative referee documents involved in the number of more than 4000. Among them, in 2018 alone, the total number of referee documents of the two enterprises reached 3348, an increase of 45.31% over 1831 in 2017.

In addition, in more than 80% of the cases, the two companies filed lawsuits as plaintiffs. The cases were mainly caused by infringement of dissemination rights of works information network, copyright ownership and infringement disputes, accounting for more than 80%.

According to Openlaw, the number of lawsuits related to the key words of visual China in 2018 totaled 2968 and reached 5676 in 2017. That is to say, there were 15.6 lawsuits in visual China every day in these two years.

Photographer: I dont know how much I sold.

Photographer Wang Qiang (a pseudonym) told Beiqing Daily that photo websites like Visual China and Oriental IC generally have their own contracted photographers or institutions, and they will upload some photos, but most of them are uploaded by registered users. Besides individuals, there are also some organizations among registered users. Visual China is not a company that produces photographs. They are only copyright agencies. The copyright owners of the photo office on the website are often not Visual China.

For those who upload photos, the uploader can get a share only after the photos are sold. According to Wang Qiang, when Visual China was founded, the proportion was 55 cents. Visual China and copyright holders shared equally, then it became 73 cents and 82 cents. Visual China takes the big head of income, while photographers take the small head.

So how do photo uploaders know if their photos have been sold and how much money they have sold? Wang Qiang said that there is an account under the uploaders name that can be used to view sales records, but the data uploaders themselves can not verify, so some photographers will suspect that their photos have been sold but have not been paid. This is a common thing, in fact, not just visual China. Eastern IC and other websites, as long as the company selling pictures will have such disputes.

In the price of photos, Wang Qiang said that the pricing power is negotiated. Pricing power can be in the hands of the uploaders themselves, such as when signing a contract, they say how much a photo will cost, and then they will be divided according to the sales volume. But most of the pricing power is in visual China, so sometimes the uploaders dont know how much the photos will cost.

Photographer Guo also said that he uploaded photos in Visual China. At that time, the composition mechanism was five-five points. Through the system, you can see which photos were downloaded many times, but you can not see the detailed transaction records. He received monthly payment, and it is not clear how much each photo sold.

Nine pictures claim for 180,000 yuan in medical institutions

Mr. Li, a self-Media editor, has been confronted with the rights protection letter of Visual China and Panoramic Network successively. We used two pictures in an article, which were provided by the interviewees. But about half a year later, I received a letter from a lawyer from Visual China, saying that our pictures were infringed upon and demanding compensation. Mr. Li told the Beijing Youth Daily that in the communication with the representative of Visual China, the other side has been recommending that he buy the picture cooperation package, and said that if he buys the above services, the infringed pictures can be counted as the service part without additional compensation.

Beiqing Daily reporter noted that in April 2017, Visual China had sued Tencent to court, claiming that in its Weixin business account and Sina Weibo official microblog, Tencent had unauthorized use of nine copyrighted pictures of Visual China, demanding that Tencent compensate for economic losses and reasonable expenditure on rights protection totalling 180,000 yuan.

In response, Tencent argued that there are also different watermarking pictures on other websites, which can not prove that visual China enjoys the copyright of pictures. But eventually, the court decided that Tencent would pay 40,000 yuan to China Visual Compensation.

Among the litigation objects of these two companies, hospitals and real estate developers are the key objects. In April 2019 alone, the upcoming or existing lawsuits include Yueqing Peoples Hospital, Jiaxing Second Hospital, Hubei Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital, Yuyao Peoples Hospital, Shanghai Jiyi Stomatological Clinic Co., Ltd., Ruian Peoples Hospital (Ruian Women and Childrens Health Hospital, Ruian Red Cross Hospital), Ruian Peoples Hospital, Ruian Peoples Hospital Medical Service Group.

On April 3, 2019, Wuhan Real Estate Development and Investment Group Co., Ltd. became the defendant of Hanhuayimei, with 19 court cases. On March 27, 2019, there were as many as 10 lawsuits against Golden Hong Kong Jewelry (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.

As many as 4,000 court information is just the tip of the iceberg for Visual China to safeguard its rights. In addition to the court information, Beiqing Daily reporters found that in the information that has been filed but has not been held, there are still as many as 3184 pieces of information in the list. A company named Shenzhen Yuehao Jewelry Co., Ltd. will welcome up to 31 co-litigants from Hanhua Yimei (Tianjin) Image Technology Co., Ltd. on May 22, 2019.

Duan Houji, a professor at the Law School of Fudan University, told reporters in Beiqing Daily that such centralized litigation may involve suspicion of abusing litigation rights and instituting harassment-type litigation.

Revealing Secrets and Starting a Business Start with 6000 Films

The founders price has shrunk by 130 million. We cant blackmail

Chai Jijun is the legal person of Hanhua Yimei and Huagai Creative Company. Another identity of Chai Jijun is one of the founders of Visual China. It is also the fourth largest shareholder of Visual China. At present, it holds 7.1% of the shares of Visual China. Visual China closed down yesterday. Chai Jijuns 49.76 million shares were held by individuals. As of the day before yesterday, the closing market value was about 1.3 billion yuan. Yesterday, the opening market shrank by 130 million yuan directly.

The 45-year-old former photographer, now worth more than 1 billion yuan, is a legal person of 25 companies.

As early as 2000, Chai Jijun was a photographer and photo editor of a certain media. He started a joint venture with Li Xueling, a literary journalist of the same newspaper at that time. At that time, Chai Jijuns family was still stockpiling 6000 rolls of film, and had been thinking about how to maximize the value of idle photos. Ultimately, they decided to build a database linking the photographer and the photographer.

Chai Jijun and Li Xueling took a photo and built the website in two weeks. Photographers can upload pictures on the Internet anytime and anywhere. After paying customers, they can download them authorized. Photographers can see the download records through the background and then share them with the website.

On May 1, 2000, the website was officially launched and named Photocome. Since Sinas business expanded after its listing, it needed a lot of pictures, so it cooperated with Photocome. At that time, the price was 50 yuan per picture and the monthly cost was hundreds of thousands of yuan. In 2005, Chai Jijun left his post and established Huagai Creative with Getty Images, a well-known international digital imaging company. The photo business has developed rapidly. In 2014, the company was listed on the back of a shell, and its original stock, Far East Share, was officially renamed Visual China.

Chai Jijun said that, in fact, the copyright of pictures in visual China is not particularly expensive. For the photo copyright business, he said, the picture content industry is far from mature. In fact, it is difficult to find a good picture online, and we have a large number of high-quality pictures to reduce production costs and solve copyright problems for you. In the long run, we cantblackmail. We are a commercial company. You sign a contract with me and Ill provide you with quality service, thats all.

Some critics hold that respecting copyright does not mean respecting the way of operation of visual China; Tucao Vision China can not undermine the hard won social consensus to protect intellectual property rights.

The main problems of visual China are as follows: 1. Implementing copyright infringement in the name of protection, plundering the beauty of others, deceiving and blackmailing copyright owners by pretending to be copyright owners. For example, copyright owners of black hole photographs have opened their copyright, while visual China has falsely charged foreign fees. In fact, visual China will open a large number of overseas copyrighted photographs for its own; 2. Visual China engages in touch-ceramic photographs. To safeguard rights, high-priced claims are frequently made, and annual contracts are frequently required.

This incident shows that the environment of intellectual property protection in China has been greatly improved, but the balance of copyright protection and dissemination has to be explored.

Sound from the Media to Pay Operational Costs

Fabrication of copyright for profit is serious or involves three charges

According to Zhang Xinnian, a lawyer from Beijing Jingshi Law Firm, Visual China uses photo search technology to embezzle online pictures onto its website, and then claims that the act of selling or defending copyright is true after investigation by relevant departments, according to the provisions of Copyright Law and General Principles of Civil Law. Jueh China has constituted an infringement on the copyright of the copyright holder of the relevant pictures and is suspected of unjust enrichment, so it should bear the corresponding civil liability. At the same time, if visual China acts on the basis of the fact that it does not have copyright at all, it may be suspected of fraud or extortion.

Liu Bojin, a lawyer at Beijing Bo-Shen Law Firm, also said that visual China may be suspected of fraud or contract fraud if it requests payment from the company through fictitious copyright. However, he stressed that the premise of the crime is to cause damage to the other party and to achieve the severity of the crime.

In addition, Shanghai lawyer Ding Jinkun also said that if visual China fabricated false infringed facts with fictitious copyright and sued the other party for compensation, it might also be suspected of seriously disturbing the judicial order, which would involve the crime of false litigation.

Ding Jinkun said that defending rights litigation is to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of copyright owners and is a legitimate act, but if it goes to extremes and makes profits in an improper way, the act itself will also be punished by law. In addition, in view of this incident, the improper behavior of the library has aroused public concern and condemnation, making the website closed and rectified, which is not an exemption. If the act of shutting down the website has caused losses to customers, lawyers said that the relevant customers can claim rights according to the Contract Law and the contractual agreement between the two parties.

With the emergence of various self-Media such as public numbers and microblogs, the number of copyright infringement disputes in pictures, articles and videos has increased significantly compared with previous years. Court judges reminded Internet companies and individuals to clarify the scope of reasonable use prescribed by law, and to obtain authorization from others and pay remuneration for unreasonable use. For the pictures and articles used in the propaganda content, we should increase the investment in the creation of works, give up the investment cost, and pay attention to copyright registration. When purchasing other peoples works, we should pay attention to the examination of legal sources.

Protecting the Copyright of Creative Labor by Second Shooting

What kind of picture is infringement?

In the first case, the object of copyright protection is innovative and creative work. Visual China directly makes vectors and watermarks of other peoples logo patterns, among which there is no creative work and of course can not enjoy copyright. Visual Chinas stamping and selling money itself is a copyright infringement.

Secondly, in the broad sense of second shooting, some official micro-editors do not understand: after their buildings and their products are photographed into pictures, how can they become the intellectual property rights of others? In fact, the commodities and buildings themselves do not produce copyright of photographic works, on the contrary, in the shooting process, photographers pay innovative labor, including light adjustment, light and shade contrast. So second shooting will produce copyright.

Third, the conflict between the right to portrait and the copyright of photographic works. This time, many public figures and celebrities came out to Tucao: after being photographed by some photographers in some public places, they sold to visual China. Portrait right and copyright belong to the relationship of competition and cooperation. Photographers are invited to take photos. If the ownership of copyright is not clarified beforehand, then the copyright of photographs is the photographer.

Event review

April 11th

Some Netizens found that black hole photos appeared on the Visual China website for editorial download, and indicated that if this picture is used for commercial purposes, please call or consult customer representatives.

Around 14:00.

Aiming at the purpose, regulation and copyright of black hole photographs, Chai Jijun, founder of Visual China, told the media that it is risky to use this map to capture hot spots for commercial purposes such as corporate advertising.

15:05

The Communist Youth League Central Committee issued a microblog named Visual Chinese Images and asked Is the copyright of the flag and emblem of your company?

15:51

Visual Chinas official microblog Visual China Image issued a statement again, saying that it obtained authorization for black hole photos through AFP. There is a risk that self-Media will be liable for using this map.

18:26

In response, Visual China Image Weibo said it was responsible for lax auditing and offline processing of irregular pictures such as the national flag and emblem.

Around 20:00.

The copyright issue of visual Chinese pictures continues to ferment, and its official website can not be opened.

April 12th

Around 2:00.

Tianjin Internet Information Office interviewed the person in charge of visual Chinese websites and ordered the websites to stop illegal acts immediately and completely rectify them, according to Tianjin Post.

3:43

Visual China Image issued an apology letter saying that the company has taken measures to offline all non-conforming pictures and voluntarily shut down the website to carry out corrections in accordance with relevant laws and regulations.

7:44

Visual China issued a bulletin on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange that the company is carrying out a thorough rectification in accordance with relevant laws and regulations and in line with the requirements of the regulatory authorities. Up to now, it is not yet possible to accurately predict the completion of the rectification and recovery of services. The company is actively and conscientiously carrying out the rectification work, striving to restore services as soon as possible. The company will announce the specific time when the service will be restored.

8:19

In response to media reports, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) said that this copyright claim of Visual China was illegal. ESOs had never and could not transfer the copyright of their pictures to any other person or organization, and Visual China had never contacted ESO about black hole pictures.

The official website of the European Southern Observatory made it clear: Our basic intention is to encourage all mankind to use and disseminate our images, videos, press releases, announcements, weekly pictures and titles. Our only concern is that your sources of information must be clear.

10:03

Recently, the copyright issue of black hole pictures has aroused concern, according to a news release from the State Copyright Administration. The State Copyright Administration attaches great importance to the copyright protection of pictures and safeguards the legitimate rights and interests of copyright owners according to law. All photo companies should improve copyright management mechanism, standardize copyright operation, legitimately and reasonably safeguard their rights, and should not abuse their rights. The State Copyright Administration will incorporate the copyright protection of pictures into the upcoming Sword Net 2019 special action to further standardize the copyright order of the picture market.

16:08

Tianjin Network Information Office has set up a work supervision team to visit the Visual China website to supervise and inspect the stock information, log retention, information audit, information security management, on-duty inspection, emergency disposal, technical support, etc., to put forward specific rectification suggestions and guidance to urge the company to rectify the hidden dangers of related problems, and to put forward treatment suggestions to the staff who lost their jobs so as to ensure rectification. Make landing effect, dont go through the motions.

Source: Qian Mingxiao_NBJ10675, Responsible Editor of Beijing Youth Daily