Wednesday, February 3, 2016

If China Ever Uses Copyright to Censor Tank Man, It Will Be America’s Fault; Motherboard, 2/1/16

Sarah Jeong, Motherboard; If China Ever Uses Copyright to Censor Tank Man, It Will Be America’s Fault:
"Imagine a future where news agencies, historical archives, academic resources, and humanitarian organizations across the world all receive the same US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice, sent by a Chinese firm: Take down the Tank Man photo, or be sued for copyright infringement.
There is perhaps no better-known image associated with the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre: an unknown man in a white shirt and black trousers, grasping a bag in one hand, stands in front of a line of tanks, halting their progress.
Tank Man is a subversive image for the Chinese government, and for internet users in that the country, the photo—like many other references to the 1989 protests—has been censored by the authorities. It would be insanity if copyright were used to expand that censorship beyond China’s borders, but thanks to the United States copyright lobby, this absurd hypothetical is a little more realistic than you’d expect.
There’s more than one photograph of Tank Man, but for such a long, momentous stand-off, the photographs are surprisingly few. At least one of these photographs now belongs to Visual China Group, which purchased it from none other than Bill Gates himself, included inside of a massive bundle of copyrights to “historic news, documentary, and artistic images” that includes images of the Tiananmen Square protests.
Visual China Group has announced a partnership with Getty to license the images, so censorship doesn’t look like it’s in the cards."

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