Bill Gates sold rights to the Tiananmen 1989 pictures to a Chinese company

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I sure hope he got a few billions dollars for them, otherwise he should have released them to the public domain.

/but that might have affected the value of his stock portfolio, I suppose.


Google the images, they are still there.


Is that the output from Google China? The article said that Getty Images can distribute the Corbis images globally, except China. So we will be able to see these in the US, Europe, etc.

I would imagine however that Visual China Group will be mass mailing the Chinese equivalent of DMCA notices to ISPs in China…

From what I can tell, it looks like they’re the holder of international licensing rights for former Sygma images and some UPI images.

For AP images – which is where the most famous version of “Tank Man” and the first two photos you posted come from – they are the licensor only for specific cases. Tank Man’s licensing restrictions includes this, which is common for all the AP images I looked at:

Not available to AP member newspapers and AP member broadcasters.
Available for license and invoicing to customers located in the United States only.

So outside of the US or an AP member organization? Then Corbis is not the licensor for any AP images.

(Now, what happens to Sygma images? I dunno. Searching Corbis for shots taken in China in 1989 returns mainly Sygma images.)

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Feel free to use my remix! I hereby this day surrender all exclusive republication rights to my original work: :slightly_smiling:


so, bill gates PERSONALLY sold these rights to china? or did a company he owns do it?


We visited Tiananmen a few years ago. Our tour guide was using a little handheld PA system so that we could hear her as we walked through the Square. At one point she gathered us all together in a tight little bunch, turned off her mic, and said, “The government killed one of my students right there.” Then she turned her mic back on and continued the tour as if that hadn’t just happened.

I was also told that the protest was against the Chinese government’s pivot toward a free(er) economy, and was in favor of the rights and privileges that were promised but never manifested by Chinese Communism. That didn’t really match the narrative I was familiar with. Food for thought.


There were also protests in other parts of the country - my Chinese teacher was involved in the ones in Xian, but didn’t seem to realise the significance Tiananmen had had in the global image of China.

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This is censorship. Corporations and “intellectual” property is a threat to liberty and democracy.

Not cool, man.

A company Gates founded and owns as the sole shareholder.

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From the sadist who brought the world MS Windows and DONKEY.BAS

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I’m pretty sure that any Chinese ISP hosting these pics has already been shut down by the Chinese government…

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So, completely absolved of all responsibility then?
That’s how business works, right?

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Whenever I see this, I wonder what would happen if it was an Iraqi and an American tank, or a Palestinian and a Jewish tank.

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Or an American and an Israeli armored bulldozer?


I know that I’m preaching to the converted here on BoingBoing, but isn’t the real problem here that a picture taken in 1989 is still under copyright?


What is a Jewish tank?
Did the tank have a bar / bat mitzvah?

The State of Israel ≠ Judaism


Not in this case. At the time the photo was taken a work for hire (which as a wire photo I assume it is) had a copyright term of 75 years. If you wanted to roll the law back to before the Copyright Act of 1976 the photo would’ve had a 28 year term that could be renewed with a second term for a total of 52 years. To get a total copyright term of less than the photo’s age of 28 years you’d have to go back to the early 19th century, and I haven’t seen anyone seriously argue for that.