Ecns wire

Image provider VCG's market value drops by 300 million yuan over copyright dispute

2023-08-16 Editor : Zhang Dongfang ECNS App Download

(ECNS) -- Chinese photo and media agency Visual China Group (VCG) has seen over 300 million yuan (about $41.12 million) in market value loss after a copyright dispute with a photographer broke out on Tuesday, Global Times reported on Wednesday.

The photographer said on the Chinese social platform Weibo on Tuesday that he was informed the copyright concerning 173 photos published on his official WeChat account belongs to VCG, who called him for compensation of more than 80,000 yuan. But in fact, these photos were taken by himself.

He questioned why the copyright in these photos belongs to VCG, since he never sold them to the image provider.

VCG stated on Weibo on the same day that it had got in touch with the photographer.

“After initial verification, the photographer authorized these photos to Stocktrek Images for sale, and Stocktrek Images sold them to Getty Images. As the exclusive partner of Getty Images in the Chinese mainland, VCG has complete rights to sell Getty Images-provided materials, including the 173 images, and the sales authorization chain of the 173 images is clear and complete,” said VCG in its statement.

“We will continue to communicate with the photographer and properly handle the misunderstanding,” it added.

But on Wednesday morning, the photographer posted on Weibo again, saying he refused to accept the statement VCG released.

“I’ve checked with Stocktrek. It explicitly told me that VCG has no right to sell my images, nor does it hold any copyright. It also told me that Getty Images has no right to sell my images to others. There is no misunderstanding,” the photographer said.

He asked VCG to stop selling his photos immediately at the end of the post.

Previously, VCG was criticized by the public for copyright controversy. It was accused of claiming copyright over the images of a black hole published by the European Southern Observatory for free public use as well as China’s national flag and emblem.


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