Laws need to be improved
Although the scandal involving Visual China Group exposed disordered copyright management by stock-image providers, legal professionals said the increased efforts to protect copyright should be applauded.
For example, the National Copyright Administration has launched crackdowns against pirated works every year, aiming to increase copyright protection through administrative measures.
Last year, it took online short videos, audio material, literary articles and music as major targets. It eliminated 1.85 million web links with content that infringed copyright, and confiscated 1.23 million pirated works.
Wang, the Beijing lawyer, said he appreciated government attempts to protect copyright, but said such efforts are still insufficient.
He called for the country to improve copyright-related laws as soon as possible, and especially to issue a specific rule for footage, pictures or other photographic works.
"In my opinion, the price of an image depends on how difficult it was to take the picture and the occasions when will be used," he added.
Chen Jing, another Beijing lawyer, said, "Footage and photos have yet been priced as standardly as written work, and without clear pricing, some companies may sell the images at an unreasonably high price or claim an expensive compensation but fail to make a reasonable payment to the authors," said.
"It results in the authors not being able to have adequate rights protection, consumers paying too much and companies gaining relatively high profits, which, from our current analysis, are illegitimate," said Chen, from the Commerce &Finance Law Office.
She agreed with Wang on improving laws to change the situation, and told China Daily a new version of Chinese Copyright Law is being discussed.
"Contents regarding collective copyright management organizations, including stock image platforms, have been debatable and remain a key issue among lawmakers," she said.
"I believe such copyright agencies will be regulated in the future version of the law after Visual China's incident, and our IP protection will also be further strengthened thanks to the case," she added.