IFPI, Warner, Universal, Sony Attack Baidu, Yahoo, Sohu For Copyright Infringement
February 6, 2008 6:10 PM
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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