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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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RE: and why do we keep doing it?
By defter on 2/7/2008 6:09:24 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
until some sort of compromise is met


What kind of compromise you are talking about? The whole lawsuit against a search engine is ridicilous. Yes, you can find mp3s using a search engine, so what? That's the whole point of search engine, to find information from the web. Why should Baidu censor its search reasults on behalf of US copyright mafia?


RE: and why do we keep doing it?
By AlphaVirus on 2/7/2008 10:38:59 AM , Rating: 2
It was the same case as when Youtube was same and became big, every video you could imagine was on it. People started putting movies on it and music videos on it. Once the site actually became big it was slammed with lawsuits of copyright infringment. The corporations did not go down to each user and sue them, they sued YouTube for allowing and 'supporting' it.
Once Google took over the Youtubes it has been very hard pressed against any illegal videos (bootlegged, copywritten, vulgar, or just plain illegal).

Honestly I hope they win this case because with the statement of "99% of all downloaded music is stolen", that is hurting our economy indirectly. Well everything is hurting but fixing it 1 lawsuit at a time and we will be better eventually.


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