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Chinese stock image website makes false copyright claim over black hole image

Written by Ellis Sweetenham on 15 April 2019

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Last week saw a huge moment for those who love space, the release of the first photograph of a black hole.

This image was released by the European Southern Observatory, but this didn’t stop other trying to muscle in on its popularity.

A Chinese based stock image website Visual China Group, from which people can purchase images to use on their platforms, has taken the image of the black hole, put their logo on it and put it up for sale on their website. They are effectively stating that they own the copyright in the image, and they should profit from people wanting to use the image.

This didn’t go down well and caused a complete U-turn with the site closing down while it reviews its content.

The ESO has confirmed that most of its images are free to use anyway under a creative commons license, however they did not specify that the black hole image was included in this.

A lesson for all to learn, every picture has an owner who you need to contact before using the image.

For more guidance, please contact the Lawdit team today.

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