China’s top regulatory agencies publicly rebuked stock photo agency Visual China after it claimed the copyright for the first photo of a black hole, an image released on Wednesday that commanded headlines across the globe.

Beijing-based Visual China Group (VCG) watermarked the now-famous image and claimed it held the copyright, sparking outrage from millions of netizens on Chinese social media.

VCG later apologized via Weibo early Friday, after Chinese tech companies including Baidu and Tencent joined the chorus of protest. Company logos and photos were among images for which VCG claimed the copyright. China’s Communist Youth League (CYL), the youth wing of the country’s ruling party, questioned on Weibo why the images of China’s National Flag and National Emblem were also watermarked on its platform.

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Jill Shen

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: jill.shen@technode.com or Twitter: @yushan_shen