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Chinese Authorities Suspends Website for Black Hole Copyright: Report

Founded in June 2000, VCG had collected revenues to the tune of 700 million yuan ($104.18 million) in the first three quarters of 2018

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US clothing brand Gap has apologised for selling T-shirts which it said showed an
Accurate Map of China. Pixabay

Chinese authorities have suspended the website of the country’s largest stock images provider after it was found to have put its copyright mark on the first ever photo taken of a black hole, state-owned China Daily newspaper reported on Friday.

Visual China Group (VCG) has been alleged to have published with its watermark the black hole photo soon after it was released on Wednesday, leading the cyberspace affairs authority in Tianjin (north) to suspend its website, Efe news reported citing the daily.

The incident led to the National Copyright Administration in China announcing that it would launch a campaign to regulate the image copyright market, underlining that firms should set up mechanisms to uphold copyright as per legal requirements.

The copyright claim over a picture, which was released by Event Horizon Telescope and was not meant for commercial usage, meant that users downloading the image from VCG were required to pay for it.

All images provided by organizations like the European Southern Observatory and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration are available for free as long as users cite the source.

The photo of the black hole, located 53.3 million light years from the Earth and taken by the Event Horizon Telescope, also fell under this category.

Black Hole
An image of the black hole at the center of Messier 87, a massive galaxy in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster. This black hole resides 55 million light-years from Earth and has a mass 6.5-billion times that of the sun.
VOA

The Chinese company issued a statement saying they had obtained the rights of the image for use in the media and not for commercial use such as advertisements.

However, ESO – which holds the rights over the image – has denied having received any message from VCG, and said it was illegal for the Chinese firm to ask money for the use of the photo.

The incident led to protests in social networks in the Asian country, some of them from other companies and organizations that found their own content on the VCG website.

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Moreover, the Communist Youth League Central Committee, on its official handle on Weibo – Chinese equivalent of Twitter – criticized VCG for making users pay for photographs of the national emblem on its website.

The authorities at Tianjin decided to suspend the website in the wake of the controversy, even though VCG released another statement with an apology and admitting that many of its images came from third parties without any ties to their company.

Founded in June 2000, VCG had collected revenues to the tune of 700 million yuan ($104.18 million) in the first three quarters of 2018. (IANS)

Next Story

China Hopes to Welcome US “Back to The Negotiating Table” to Discuss Global Efforts to Limit Climate Change

Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs, told journalists during a visit to a solar energy plant outside the Chilean capital Santiago

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China, US, Climate Change
FILE - China's top climate change negotiator, Xie Zhenhua. VOA

China hopes to welcome the United States “back to the negotiating table” to discuss global efforts to limit climate change at a United Nations summit to be hosted by Chile in December, its top climate change envoy said on Tuesday.

Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs, told journalists during a visit to a solar energy plant outside the Chilean capital Santiago that China would provide “full support to the Chilean presidency of this meeting.”

The summit was “strong proof that a multilateral negotiation process is successful, that multilateralism is working,” he said.

Asked if the U.S. approach to the threat of climate change under President Donald Trump and the U.S.-China trade dispute might affect the outcome in Santiago, Xie replied: “China and the U.S. has many differences but we do have some common grounds on climate change issues as well and we welcome them back to the negotiating table on climate change, we are very open to that.”

China, US, Climate Change
China hopes to welcome the United States “back to the negotiating table” to discuss global efforts to limit climate change at a United Nations summit to be hosted by Chile. VOA

Trump has signaled his intention to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris climate accord and been dismissive of regulations aimed at slashing greenhouse gas emissions. He has also expressed his preference for bilateral trade pacts over multilateral agreements.

In July, China pledged on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka to show “the highest possible ambition” in the fight against climate change. Experts and policy advisors say the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter could introduce new and more stringent carbon targets next year.

Xie said China would back a bid by the U.N. secretary-general and climate change envoy to persuade all countries to update their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) goals to keep global warming to well below two degrees centigrade.

“The most important objective is to identify the new NDCs for the post-2020 period and link those new NDCs together with the financial support from the developed countries as promised,” Xie said. “To have that financial support in place is very important and that’s the objective we would like to achieve.”

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China is a key investor in Chilean renewable energy projects and manufactured half of the solar panels at the 110MW Parque Quilapilún solar plant Xie visited with environment minister Carolina Schmidt.

Schmidt will serve as president of the COP25 U.N. climate change summit in December. (VOA)