Black Hole Gate, National Emblem Gate, Apology Gate, Official Website Collapse Gate... On April 11, Visual China made headlines four times a day. Starting with a black hole photo with a controversy over authorization, Visual China is deeply challenged about abuse of power.
Nandu reporters noted that visual content copyright trading and service is the core business of visual China. In the six years since listing, the companys revenue has risen sharply. In 2017, the company realized revenue of 815 million yuan, net profit of 291 million yuan and gross interest rate of 65.9%.
However, the growing vision of China has quietly built competition barriers and content moat. At present, Visual China has signed exclusive agency agreements with many photo galleries at home and abroad, covering a large number of hot topics. As the sole authorized agent in China, Visual China has sued Jianghua Traditional Chinese Medicine Industry, which used the content of the exclusive agent Getty Images gallery, and won the lawsuit.
Some brokerage researchers believe that compared with foreign countries, the domestic picture market is still in the high-end market. Visual China takes exclusive picture as its industry advantage, penetrates into industrial services, or takes the high-price route of picture.
Rights protection advantages
Combating Piracy Alleged Abuse of Rights
Mo Xiaomi, 25, is a contracted photographer for Visual China. In recent years, his personal photographs will be uploaded to the personal accounts of Visual China one by one. Successfully uploaded images will be given an exclusive number, marked with a clear price and proportion. Mo Xiaomi said. The lowest percentage of my work is 25%, the highest is 35%.
For him, this is a free, flexible and profitable commercial gallery. More importantly, the platform will help itself fight against copyright mice. Mo Xiaomi introduced that after signing a contract with the platform, Visual China has the right to represent the photographers works. It can also defend its rights in the name of the platform and claim compensation from the image pirates. As an individual photographer, there is no time and energy to tangle with the pirates. But if the opponent is a big platform, the advantage of safeguarding rights will be much greater.
Nandu reporters noted that in recent years, visual Chinese companies have closely tracked the use of corporate proxy pictures through setting up copyright compliance department, developing image tracking system, using block chain related technology, and making property lawsuits, setting a record of more than 3,000 lawsuits per year.
However, in the eyes of some new media editors, visual China is regarded as abusing rights because of its fishing rights. If you havent received a letter from a lawyer in Visual China, it shows that your platform traffic is really normal, joked a self-Media practitioner. Tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of yuan, of claims are overwhelming for the numerous media industry practitioners who steal from disaster-stricken areas. Fuzzy pricing rules and the platform with unilateral bargaining rights also make many people feel that the platform is big shopper.
Since April 11, because of a controversial authorized black hole photo, Visual China has continued to be at the centre of online public opinion and has been subjected to crazy criticism by new media practitioners. After being interviewed by Tianjin Network Information Office, Visual China issued a notice of website rectification. On April 12, the opening price of Visual Chinas stocks fell and stopped, and the market value evaporated more than 2 billion yuan.
Copyright Trading and Service as Core Business
In the first half of 2014, ST Far East shares of Shenzhen Stock Exchange listed companies acquired the assets of Huaxia Vision and Hanhua Yimei through private issuance. In August of the same year, the abbreviation of corporate securities was changed from Far East Share to Visual China. So far, the Far East shares, whose performance has been declining, have been backed up by the new company. The companys business has also changed from clothing industry to the photo-related literary industry.
In the past six years, Visual (China) Cultural Development Co., Ltd. (referred to as Visual China) has gradually developed a diversified business sector. However, visual content copyright trading and services have always been the core business of the company. Its general business model is that content users are authorized by paying fees; companies sign agency and sharing agreements with content contributors to obtain content distribution rights. The company collects licensing fees and pays the corresponding contributors according to the agreed share. If the company owns the copyright content, the company does not have to pay the licensing fee to share it.
In this way, through the model of agent-sale-share, visual China connects the two ends of the market of creators and users. At present, in addition to the official platform of visual China, its company also has independent brands such as Hanhuayimei, Huagai Creative and Dongxing Entertainment.
As of April 11, Visual China had not disclosed revenue for 2018. Nevertheless, in terms of past performance in the reporting period, Visual China can be described as a high gross profit, strong profitability performance stocks. In the first year after the backdoor listing, Visual China reversed the decline of the previous companys revenue, net profit easily exceeded 100 million yuan, and increased year by year in a straight line.
From 2014 to 2017, Visual Chinas business income increased from 391 million yuan to 815 million yuan, and its net attributable profit increased from 142 million yuan to 291 million yuan. Moreover, visual Chinas gross interest rate continued to run at a high level, with the lowest gross interest rate showing 55.39%, and reached 65.86% in the 2017 reporting period.
Sign exclusive with several well-known photo galleries
Visual China continues to expand outward after listing.
At present, Visual China has established an exclusive strategic partnership with Getty Images, the worlds largest photo library. Meanwhile, it has acquired Corbis, the worlds third largest photo library founded by Bill Gates, and 500px, an internationally renowned online photography community.
Nandu reporters noted that in the process of development, Visual China has established exclusive agency relationships with many photo agencies, such as Getty Images, China News Agency, Agence France Presse, BBC, Reuters and so on, covering the Olympic Games, NBA, World Cup, Oscar and other hot topics. Visual China Mid-Year News 2018 shows that the company has nearly monopolized a large number of comprehensive and exclusive high-quality genuine visual content resources, and constantly strengthens the global control over high-quality copyright visual content, forming a you have no me, you have my own excellent barrier to competition.
Visual China is the only A-share listed company in the commercial photo gallery industry. A person from a Shanghai securities company introduced to Nandu reporters that the commercial photo library industry is based on copyright transactions. According to the estimates, there are 13.8 billion to 18.6 billion yuan of market space in domestic photo industry in 2017, but the rate of authenticity is only 7.8% - 10.6%. This is also the market prospect of visual China.
From its business model, it has formed a strong barrier. The broker explained that Visual China has built its own copyright repository through mergers and acquisitions, and cooperated with high-quality suppliers and contributors at the B and C ends to strengthen the accumulation of materials, achieve the all-round integration and development of pictures and audio-visual, editorial and creative materials, high-end and micro-profit, library and community, hoping to become the leading domestic digital content platform for PC. Price ability is strong, because there are strong distribution channels, enhance the exposure opportunities and profit potential of material.
The broker said that, from the overall development of the commercial picture industry, because there is still room for improvement in the domestic intellectual property environment, the expansion of the picture market is lower than expected, and the gross interest rate of the picture is not high. Compared with foreign countries, the domestic picture market is still in the high-end picture market. Take Visual China as an example, it takes exclusive picture as its industry advantage and infiltrates into industry services. However, the domestic micro-profit picture company only has the problem of the establishment time, and has not formed an absolute competitive advantage. For this reason, visual China or take the high price route of pictures.
Photo Authentication Market is still in its early stages
In fact, in Chinas Copyright Law, Tort Liability Law and other laws, there are clear norms on the ownership, use and tort liability of picture works. If the copyright owner fails to sign his or her name, he or she may infringe upon the copyright of others or the right to disseminate information on the internet, and he or she shall bear the corresponding legal responsibility for the use of pictures with unknown rights for commercial purposes or for the dissemination of pictures on the internet. Strictly speaking, unless authorized by the copyright owner, the violation of the law can be avoided. If the photo company has been granted exclusive authorization, the use and dissemination without its permission may indeed constitute infringement.
In 2018, when investors interacted, customers consulted Visual China on pricing rules. Visual China responded that the companys visual content pricing system is based on industry practices and conforms to the prevailing commercial market rules. The price of licensed pictures is determined by many factors, such as use (editing category, advertising business category), use scenario, quantity, source of pictures (scarcity), etc. According to different content needs, application scenarios and budgets of customer groups, the company provides different products, authorization, prices and delivery modes so as to cover the market in an all-round way and efficiently.
With the increasing protection of copyright and the increasing awareness of public copyright, Chinas copyright visual content industry has ushered in a new period of rapid development. At present, the theoretical market of copyright image materials in China will be 18.6 billion yuan in 2017, while the actual market will be 1.46 billion yuan, with only 8% of the original edition rate. Pixsy data show that 64% of photographers have experienced image theft, of which 28% are commercial theft. With the increasing protection of intellectual property rights, the legitimization rate of copyright visual materials market in China continues to increase and there is a larger space. As the leading enterprise in this industry, it will benefit from rapid growth.
At present, the iterative development of mobile Internet puts forward higher requirements for quality content production, and visual material is the cornerstone of quality content production. BAT, headlines, microblogs and other giants are competing fiercely in the field of mobile information, and content ecology is the core link. At the same time, the protection of intellectual property rights has been strengthened. Following the video, audio and literary content, the photo industry is expected to usher in the wave of legitimization. However, from the perspective of domestic and foreign industries, the use rate of overseas legitimate pictures is high, and it is a typical mature industry. The Chinese market is still in the early stage of legitimization.
Collection: Nandu reporter Mao Shujie Ren Xianbo
Nandu University Data Research Institute
Data acquisition and analysis:
Nandu reporter Feng Haopeng
Ling Hui Shan
Data Source: Tian Eye Check
Is the price of visual Chinese pictures tens of thousands of dollars expensive?
Source: Southern Metropolitan Daily, April 13, 2019: AA08 Author: Jiang Xiaotian, Liu Lv
If visual China occupies such a high market share in the picture licensing market, the public will have to accept the possibility of unreasonable pricing when they choose their pictures.
Yang Huaquan, Secretary-General of Beijing Institute of Intellectual Property Law
Assuming that the copyright owner of the film and television works has authorized the use of visual China in accordance with the law, stars do need to pay for the purchase of their own stills.
Li Shunde, Research Fellow, Institute of Law, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
The public debate over the copyright of black hole photographs in visual China has continued to grow.
Following an interview with Visual China on the morning of April 12, the Tianjin Municipal Network Information Office ordered the company to immediately stop illegal acts and completely rectify them. The State Copyright Administration again responded to the incident by requiring photo companies to improve copyright management mechanism, standardize copyright operation, legitimately and reasonably safeguard their rights and refrain from abusing their rights. It also announced that the copyright protection of pictures should be included in the forthcoming SwordNet 2019 special action.
Who is the copyright of black hole photos?
The European Southern Observatory said
Not authorized to Visual China
It all starts with the black hole photos that initially triggered public opinion. On April 11, some netizens found that the black hole photos just released appeared on the Visual China website, and noted that this map is only for editing purposes, such as for commercial purposes, calling or consulting customer representatives.
Subsequently, netizens asked on Weibo whether the picture could be used for commercial poster production. Visual Chinese customer service charges a fee. The incident promptly triggered a heated debate. Visual China responded that the copyright of black hole photos belongs to the European Southern Observatory (ESO). Visual China obtained authorization for the use of the photo editing category through its partners. The authorization is not exclusive. It can only be used for news editing and dissemination at the request of copyright owners, and can not be used as commercial use (advertising, promotion, etc.) without permission.
Nandu reporter found on the ESO official website that the pictures, music, videos and other contents on the official website are subject to the international licensing agreement of knowledge sharing signature 4.0, i.e. the Creative Sharing Agreement. Anyone can freely distribute, disseminate and modify the creation of this work, as long as the source of signature is used, but they are generally not used for commercial purposes and can not be increased. External restrictions. The so-called additional restriction means that no legal restriction or technical restriction can be added to restrict other peoples conduct permitted by this license. The use of black hole photos on the official website belongs to the easiest part of the international licensing agreement of Knowledge Sharing Signature 4.0. Whether it is commercial or not, the use of the signature can be.
On April 12, the European Southern Observatory made it clear once again that black hole photographs were not authorized to Visual China, nor did they need to be authorized, because they could also be used without authorization, and that the map was open to all mankind.
In view of the fact that China previously claimed to be authorized to acquire the copyright of black hole photographs and charged users, Yang Huaquan, secretary-general of Beijing Intellectual Property Law Research Association, said that black hole photographs were the result of the EHT project, involving many countries and relevant observatories. Such transnational projects generally agreed on the ownership of intellectual property rights of the final results and were in accordance with the law. Determine the ownership of copyright, or all parties agree that copyright belongs to EHT project.
Since the European Southern Observatory (ESO) claims to be the copyright owner of black hole photographs in front of the world and there is relevant evidence to prove their creation process, the copyright ownership of ESO is highly credible. Yang Huaquan said.
Yang Huaquan also told Nandu that although the European Southern Observatory has stated the way it authorized others to use it, it does not mean that the copyright of black hole photographs has been abandoned. It is only a way of authorization, and anyone who wants to use it still needs to abide by the copyright licensing agreement.
Li Shunde, a researcher at the Law Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that photographs can be used without authorization. In one case, photographs do not constitute works in the sense of copyright and are not protected by copyright. In another case, photographs belong to copyright-protected works. Copyright owners have abandoned the relevant property rights and allowed the public to use photographs free of charge or copyright. The property rights in the law have exceeded the statutory period of protection.
Undoubtedly, the European Southern Observatory abandoned the property rights in the copyright of black hole photographs.
Have the copyright of the flag and emblem design?
Experts say the move is obvious.
Violation of the Flag Law and the National Emblem Law
Some netizens also found that in addition to black hole photos, Visual China also claimed copyright for flag and emblem photos that could not be used for trademarks and advertisements, and demanded payment for their use.
On the afternoon of April 11, the @Communist Youth League Central Officer micro-released two screenshots of the National Flag and National Emblem of the Peoples Republic of China, which were provided on the Visual China website. The screenshot contains a copyright declaration of Copyright Ownership: Visual China and a consultation telephone for commercial use. The copyright of the national flag and emblem is also yours? said the official of the Central Committee of the League. And @Visual Chinese Image.
As can be seen from the screenshots posted by the Communist Youth League Central Committee, the price tips in the first picture of the National Emblem indicate that the price for the internal language (newspapers, websites, magazine content) is not less than 150 yuan, the full page spanning is not less than 500 yuan, and the cover of the magazine is not less than 1000 yuan.
@ Visual China Video subsequently released a message that the irregular pictures of the national flag and emblem on the Visual China website reported by netizens were provided by the contracted contributors of Visual China after checking. Visual China, as a platform party, bears the responsibility of lax auditing and has offline processed the irregular pictures.
Yang Huaquan told Nandu that the National Emblem Law of the Peoples Republic of China clearly stipulated that the national emblem should not be used for trademarks and advertisements; the display and layout of daily life; private celebration and hanging activities; and the general office of the State Council stipulated that the national emblem and its patterns should not be used in other occasions. Similar provisions exist in the Flag Law of the Peoples Republic of China. Visual Chinas behavior is clearly in violation of the flag law and the national emblem law.
Great man photos are also on sale?
Visual China Suspected of Violation
Portrait right of public figures
In addition to the national flag and emblem, some photos of great men and even past historical pictures, such as those of the Seven Thousand Peoples Congress in 1963, were picked up by netizens and sold by Visual China.
Yang Huaquan said that the issues related to the photographs of great men also involve portrait rights, national image and public interests. Even if Visual China acts as the copyright agent for the photographer, it can not be freely commercialized and sold on the platform.
Among the queries mentioned above, some star photos were included in the picture library of Visual China for a fee. This time, the star Mo Xiaoqi questioned that he did not authorize visual China to earn his own stills, but recently used the picture also received a notice of visual Chinas request for fees, Mo Xiaoqi thought it was unreasonable.
Li Shunde, a researcher at the Law Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that the stills are special works, usually intercepted from film and television works. The copyright of the stills belongs to the producers. Whether the stars have the copyright of the stills or not depends on whether they have signed relevant authorization agreements with the copyright owners of film and television works. If they are not authorized, they still belong to the copyright of film and television works. Everyone owns it. Assuming that the copyright owner of the film and television works has authorized the use of visual China in accordance with the law, stars really need to pay for the purchase of their own stills. However, Li Shunde also said that according to the law, citizens enjoy the right to portrait. Without his consent, citizens can not use their portraits for profit. Therefore, the platform is suspected of violating their right to portrait.
Yang Huaquan also told Nandu reporters that if Visual China sells stills of public figures on the platform without permission, they may also infringe on the right to portrait of public figures, and public figures can sue Visual China.
Nandu reporters learned that in the early 1990s, Liu Jialing claimed 1 million yuan for advertising without permission from Shantou Alice Company.
Does the price of thousands of pictures depend?
Half of the market
The public may have to accept it.
Visual China, as the main photo business platform, currently provides and updates more than 200 million photographs, design materials, more than 10 million video materials and 350,000 music materials online.
In recent years, through self-production, agency, strategic cooperation and acquisition, we have integrated a large number of nearly monopolistic, comprehensive and exclusive high-quality genuine visual content resources. More than two-thirds of the content provided by the platform is its own or exclusive content.
Take the domestic Photo Gallery market as an example, according to public data, visual Chinas current commercial image market share reaches 50%, firmly occupies the first place, while media image occupies 30%, second only to Xinhua Picture Agencys 50% market share, ranking second. From the companys mid-2018 report, we can see that visual materials and value-added services achieve a revenue of 398 million yuan, accounting for 83% of the total revenue.
Previous reports have shown that the price of pictures on Visual Chinas main website ranges from thousands to tens of thousands of yuan. Is the price quoted by Visual China on the high side? Teng Lizhang, director of Beijing Leiteng Law Firm, believes that, from the point of view of the industry, if it is used for the simple citation of corporate Wechat public numbers and other purposes, the general photo commercial authorization may only take a few pieces or dozens of pieces to be more reasonable.
Teng Lizhang said that at present, the value of photographs is difficult to determine in general. For example, the value of photographs taken in ordinary scenes and on Mount Everest is bound to be different, and many of the award-winning pictures may be more valuable. And the use of different purposes, licensing fees should also be different, so it is difficult to determine whether the price of the photos is reasonable in a general way.
Yang Huaquan believes that the main business of Visual China is to sign an agreement with the photo supplier. After determining the proportion of the shares, the company will submit the pictures to Visual China for sorting and uploading, deposit them in the picture database, obtain sales revenue, and then share them with the photographer or photo supplier according to the agreement.
If Visual China occupies such a high market share in the photo licensing market, the public will have to accept the possibility of unreasonable pricing when they choose their pictures. Yang Huaquan said.
Writing: Nandu reporter Jiang Xiaotian and Liu Yan from Beijing
Source: responsible editor of Southern Metropolitan Daily: Wang Fengzhi_NT2541