Media: Whats wrong with the so-called copyright protection of Visual China?

 Media: Whats wrong with the so-called copyright protection of Visual China?

Voice of China reports that in recent days, the first black hole photograph of mankind has become popular on the Internet. Following this photograph, there is a photo company called Visual China. Visual Chinas abuse of copyright for profit has been questioned by the public. Pictures such as the national flag and emblem have been labeled with so-called copyright labels. In addition to Visual China, picture companies such as Panoramic Network and Oriental IC have also been questioned.

Yesterday, Tianjin Municipal Network Information Office set up a work supervision team to enter the Visual China website, put forward specific suggestions on the potential problems related to rectification, and guide the company to rectify; Meanwhile, Visual China issued an apology letter. At present, all the pictures of the problems have been offline. The State Copyright Administration further stated that the copyright protection of pictures will be included in the forthcomingSwordNet 2019special action to further standardize the copyright order of the picture market. What is wrong with the so-called copyright protection of visual China? How will the users and owners of pictures safeguard their respective interests in the future?

Black hole photos have been labeled as controversial copyright ownership in China. Who is the copyright ownership of black hole pictures?

Shortly after the publication of the first black hole photo, some netizens found that the black hole photo was marked as an edited image owned by the copyright of visual China on the official website of Visual China, which boasts a world-wide high-quality genuine visual content platform. They also called it from the European Southern Observatory. If it is used for commercial purposes, please consult the customer service representative.

So did visual China really acquire the copyright of this first black hole photo of human beings? In response to requests for interviews in the domestic media, the European Southern Observatory, which labeled the source of the photos, made it clear that the organization had never transferred the copyright of their pictures to any other person or organization, nor had Visual China ever contacted them about black hole pictures. Faced with many doubts, Visual China subsequently issued a statement saying that it was authorized to use the image through its partners. Although the statement also mentioned that the authorization of the image is not exclusive, it also stressed that the image can only be used for news editing and dissemination, not for commercial use.

Speaking of this, we are more concerned about who the copyright of black hole pictures belongs to first. In this regard, Wang Qian, a professor at the School of Law, East China University of Politics and Law, made an analysis:

For this event, the first thing to judge is whether the black hole photo is a work or not? According to online reports, black hole photographs are computed by complex methods. According to established procedures and formulas, an image can be deduced. This kind of photograph is totally different from the photographs taken by cameras in our daily life. It should be said that it is a fact that it is very difficult to constitute a work protected by copyright law. If he is not a work, of course, it is not protected by copyright law, so there is no question of copyright licensing.

But to say the least, if he is indeed a work, the photo website should license it, provided that he has the authorization given by the original copyright owner of the photo. At the same time, license contracts should also allow photo websites to distribute licenses. If the website only claims to have obtained licenses from a news agency, but it can not prove that the news agency has the right to grant licenses to him, then its license will become a rootless, passive water.

According to the analysis of experts, the first question to be confirmed is whether the black hole photo belongs to the work or not. Because of its special production process, the attributes of the black hole photo need further confirmation.

Where is the copyright boundary for the use of pictures?

Another controversial issue is that netizens have also found that, in addition to black hole photographs, the national flag and emblem have also been copyrighted by Visual China. Officials from the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League and Peoples Daily respectively have @Visual Chinese Images. The day before yesterday (11) evening, Visual China sent a text apologizing for the photos that had been offline irregularly. Then the Tianjin Internet Information Office interviewed the website manager according to law and ordered the website to immediately stop illegal acts and completely rectify them. Yesterday morning, Visual China sent another apology, expressing its willingness to shut down the website and carry out rectification. So, for the flag and emblem picture, can visual China edit the picture for sale? Wang Qian told VOA that this is obviously not possible.

The national flag and emblem are the symbols and symbols of the state, and all the rights arising therefrom should be owned by the state, not by any individual or private institution. Therefore, the photo website has no right to label copyright on the design of the national flag and emblem. All of them carry out such labeling and try to operate commercially, that is to say, to license the so-called copyright. The first is extraordinary. Not serious. Second, it has no legal basis. Thirdly, I am afraid that it is also contrary to the provisions of the National Flag Law and the National Emblem Law on the use of the national flag and emblem.

In fact, in recent years, the protection of intellectual property rights has gradually improved, and the awareness of copyright has increased significantly. This progress has benefited many parties. However, with the continuous improvement of the environment for intellectual property protection in China, some individuals or institutions have seen the business opportunity of making profits through so-called authorization in order to implement copyright infringement in the name of protection and gain money by plundering the beauty of others. Its natural to use legal means to protect copyright. Where should the copyright boundary be for the use of pictures? In response, Professor Liu Junhai, School of Law, Renmin University of China, pointed out to Voice of China that:

If you want to take out some photographic works and enjoy them with the public, the premise is to respect and protect intellectual property rights, then this is the first one. Second, when exercising power, we must ensure that the power boundary is owned by you. If the power exercised by the photo company is the right of the third person, it is not your right, nor have you been authorized by the original author of another person to sell money with other peoples pictures. This is neither in line with business ethics nor in violation of copyright law. The basic idea is also contrary to the spirit of copyright protection advocated in the Berne Convention to which our country has acceded. So I think we should insist on two points. On the one hand, we should protect intellectual property rights with a clear banner. On the other hand, we must emphasize that intellectual property rights must not be abused. Especially, we should not abuse other peoples copyrighted pictures to collect money from others.

Visual China was interviewed. Whats wrong with the so-called copyright protection of Visual China?

It is also understood that, in view of the situation of disseminating illegal and harmful information on visual Chinese websites, Tianjin Internet Information Office interviewed the website manager according to law the day before yesterday (11), ordering the website to immediately stop illegal and irregular acts, and completely rectify them. After investigation, the visual Chinese website published sensitive and harmful information annotations among the pictures it published, which caused a large number of online forwarding, destroyed the network ecology and caused adverse effects. The above actions violated the relevant provisions of the Internet Information Service Management Measures of the Network Security Law. The head of Visual China Website said that there were serious problems in the management of the platform, and it would be completely rectified. During this period, the website would be temporarily closed down, strictly abide by relevant laws and regulations, and consciously accept the supervision of the society and netizens.

Yesterday (12), Tianjin Network Information Office set up a work supervision team to visit the Visual China website, supervise and inspect the stock information, log retention, information audit and other aspects, put forward specific rectification suggestions on the hidden dangers of related problems, and guide and urge the company to rectify, and put forward treatment suggestions for the staff who lost their jobs. At the same time, in view of the frequent occurrence of harmful image information in recent years, Tianjin Network Information Office has launched a special action to clean up and rectify the illegal and illegal information belonging to map and photo categories, and to conduct a centralized investigation and clearance of harmful image information in various links of various websites, so as to further clarify the network space. At the same time, Visual China issued an apology letter yesterday (12), saying it accepted the supervision and criticism of the vast number of Internet users and the media. In the apology letter, it said that Visual China had not fulfilled its duty of strict examination and verification. At present, all the pictures of the problem have been offline, and will cooperate with the regulatory authorities to thoroughly and actively rectify.

In fact, copyright is not a new word. For various reasons, for a long time, many copyright owners lack the awareness of copyright protection. In recent years, the environment of intellectual property protection in China has been greatly improved, and more people pay attention to copyright. However, this also makes some enterprises or individuals exploit the loophole of copyright protection, open copyright or previously copyrighted works for their own and then pretend to be copyright owners to cheat or even blackmail. According to media reports, some photo agencies have thousands of copyright lawsuits a year, and the compensation standard is often 10,000 yuan per photo. The financial report of a photo agency shows that the profits brought by the lawsuit have become its main source of income.

Normal copyright litigation, in a sense, helps to popularize the awareness of intellectual property protection. However, some institutions and individuals take advantage of imperfect and non-standard copyright infringement discretion to alienate copyright protection into a profitable business, and even derive a gray interest chain composed of photographers, industry associations, photo companies, lawyers, which deviates from the original intention of copyright protection. In this regard, Liu Junhai believes that enhancing the operability of copyright law is a beneficial way to optimize the ecological protection of copyright.

Good law is the premise of good governance, and copyright law should be relatively complete, but we still have a way to go from our real life, that is, to make copyright law plasticity, in the words of the people, we can use copyright law to fight lawsuits, and this provision should be adjudicable. Judges can use it to adjudicate cases in the future or to be enforced. u3002 I think that only by enhancing the operability of copyright law, let him become a kind of belief and awe of law shared by every netizen, every enterprise and every news media when using pictures. I think that optimizing the legal business environment for us will be beneficial to encourage the creation and dissemination of works.

To improve the system of intellectual property protection is to encourage more people to innovate independently. As for the act of safeguarding rights, it should be legalized and standardized so that the act in the name of copyright and the act of seeking interests will no longer occur, so as to create a healthy ecological cycle for the protection of intellectual property rights.

Source: Voice of China Responsible Editor: Li Hang_BJS 4645