Visual China's "Getty Images of China" group, which owns 500 pixels, sparked an uproar after trying to claim copyright on the world's first black hole image that is causing a sensation this week around the world. .
After the groundbreaking Black Hole image was released on April 10th by the Horizon Telescope Collaboration Event (EHT), it was soon made available to VCG's large photo stock service in China, with the VCG splashed watermark. But the problem was that EHT had released the image for free distribution under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.
"This is an editorial image. Please call 400-818-2525 or consult our customer service representative for commercial use, "says the VCG page for the image mentioned. TechCrunch.
Concerned Chinese Internet users have also turned to social media to share an online conversation with a representative of VCG. When asked if the image belonged to VCG, the representative answered "Yes". And when asked if the image was to be purchased for use on a poster, the representative responded that she had to actually obtain a license before it could be used.
But it turns out that this controversy over the black hole image was only the visible part of the iceberg. Digging a little deeper, it appeared that VCG claimed the copyright right on everything from the well-known company logos to the national emblem and the Chinese national flag – the sales images of the company. Emblem and flag are illegal in China.
The growing controversy has drawn the attention of the Chinese authorities, who issued an order enjoining society to end its "illegal practices contrary to the rules." VCG responded by removing all the shocking images that she could find and by suspending the content of her website. Operations – VCG.com is offline at the time of writing.
While the company's shares fell 10% on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in response to the new Monday, the company issued an open letter apologizing for the scandal and explaining that all mislabeled images had been submitted by the companies. contributors.
"We did not demonstrate due diligence in our assessment, which led to lower quality content," says VCG. "We have removed all non-compliant photos and voluntarily closed the site for reorganization in accordance with applicable laws."