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Three Chinese companies are in hot legal water for providing access to infringed copyrighted material

Looks like Google/YouTube isn't the only online giant in trouble for yielding copyrighted material in its searches.   China's top search engine,  Baidu.com Inc, has been brought to court by three major record companies, Universal Music Ltd, Sony BMG Music Entertainment (Hong Kong) Ltd and Warner Music Hong Kong Ltd, for allegedly giving access to copyrighted music files.

The companies have asked for a court order to force Baidu.com to remove links to sites with infringing material, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, IFPI, the organization handling the company's complaints said in a released statement.  The IFPI is the parent organization of the RIAA, well know in the U.S. for its use of strong arm tactics to try to curb file sharing.

The IFPI announced that these claims against Baidu.com have been filed in a Bejing court.  The IFPI also announced that Universal Music Ltd, Sony BMG Music Entertainment (Hong Kong) Ltd, Warner Music Hong Kong Ltd as well as Gold Label Entertainment Ltd are also seeking legal action against the Chinese media giant Sohu.com Inc and its search engine Sogou.  The action against Sohu.com is separate to the Baidu.com complaint.

Yahoo China also is in trouble with IFPI.  The site, which is chiefly owned by Alibaba and only loosely affiliated with Yahoo in U.S., has nonetheless been a headache for its American namesake.  The U.S. government recently blasted the site for assisting in the jailing of a dissident.  Now the IFPI is seeking punishment against Yahoo China for refusing to comply with a December ruling by the Beijing Higher People's Court.  The ruling stated that Yahoo China violated Chinese law by committing mass copyright infringement.  The company has thusfar rejected the ruling.

Yahoo China, Baidu.com, and Sohu.com were all unavailable for comment.  Likewise, Chinese court officials declined to remark on the case. 

John Kennedy, the IFPI chief executive, complains about the lack of respect for copyright by Chinese companies, stating in a written statement, "The music industry in China wants partnership with the technology companies -- but you cannot build partnership on the basis of systemic theft of copyrighted music and that is why we have been forced to take further actions."

The IFPI alleges that 99 percent of all music download in China is pirated, which costs the music industry millions a year.

China has vowed to get tougher on piracy in the force of international criticism, yet the government has made it hard in recent years to get some materials by legal means.  China recently banned the import of U.S. DVDs, leaving citizens with the unfortunate choice between not watching or joining the record number of pirates.


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By Floorbit on 2/6/2008 10:49:48 PM , Rating: 2
a search engine does not provide copyright material. It merely uses a search to provide locations for known websites.
This story does not tell enough.So as I could not make an opinion from it. Or it is bias in some way to some material fact. Since I know that for example,these copyright syndicates would not sue Google,or Yahoo here ,or any search engine for example.To say they provide 'distribution of copyrighted materail,since the logic of a search engines usage isn't to do so. None do this.
If China has a search engine.It provides this service,of finding and displaying locations for web sites.I would not want to imply that this is what a search engine does.When it does not.Being as a policy fact,perhaps China can make a policy of doing what these parties wish to do.
When in our country in the advent of a search engine being able to locate copyright infringement.It would be more so a tool to do so (the search engine),since a site could be formally addressed by the copyright party itself.They do not expect that the government is going to reside as inpector to the existance,or not of copyright infringement,without legal evidence. Wich would be provided by the very Search Engine wich is said to cause of infrigement.
These Syndicates,are not as ignorant to say this is what they are provisioned to do.
So either the story is bias.There is not enough information present.Or the persuers of this is making a mistake doing so. Howebeit,the issue of copyright infringement.A Search engine would not be considered a caterer to that,as they do not typically control the presence of a web site. Or decide the content for wich it contains,or provides a link for a Search Engine.




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