Print 19 comment(s) - last by Trisped.. on Jul 5 at 12:15 PM

Yahoo is 2nd largest search engine in China, but certainly not immune to litigation

The problems for Yahoo China are continuing to mount. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the organization that protects international music interests, is suing Yahoo China because the search engine allegedly links to sites that are hosting illegally pirated music. Unless the two sides enter negotiations and come to an agreement, the search engine company will be sued in as early as “a few weeks.”  The IFPI claims that up to 90 percent of all music recordings in China are illegal.  It is not publicly known how much monetary compensation the IFPI will be seeking from Yahoo China and Baidu. 

Yahoo China isn't the only search engine company having problems., the most used search engine in China, is being sued by EMI, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal, Go East Entertainment Co., Gold Label Entertainment, Cinepoly Records and Warner Music Group.  The record companies plan to use a new law that became effective on July 1 which will fine the distributors of illegally copyrighted music and movies up to $12,500.  In theory, the search engines will have to browse and confirm each video and music link is a legitimate, non-copyrighted file.

As mentioned earlier in the article, Yahoo has had problems because of censorship and what some have considered unethical practices in China.  Yahoo is reportedly the biggest censor in China, according to Reporters Without Borders.  However, since Yahoo is operating its business in China, the company must abide by all laws and regulations of China.  The site is also being accused of taking part in getting a Chinese journalist jailed.

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RE: search
By masher2 on 7/4/2006 9:45:07 AM , Rating: 2
> "Rather than just searching for stuff that someone else thinks is OK ..."

Not "OK". Legal. Or do you think search engines should be allowed to link to databases of social security and credit card numbers, child pornography, and other material clearly prohibited by law?

RE: search
By wien on 7/4/2006 10:28:24 AM , Rating: 2
If the idiot that put those databases unsecured on the web can't even be arsed to write a robots.txt file, then yes, search engines should absolutely link to them. People that blame their own stupidity on others, don't deserve any better.

RE: search
By Kuroyama on 7/4/2006 10:40:25 AM , Rating: 2
If a thief who STOLE those databases (VA hospital anyone?) posts a "free sample" of them online then should the search engines link to them?

RE: search
By oTAL on 7/4/2006 11:06:58 AM , Rating: 2
yes!! the thief is to blame... not the search engine...!!
That's like arresting someone beacause you asked then "do you know anyone that steals car stereos?" and he said "I heard Joe steals car stereos..."
He just pointed out some knowledge... no crime commited...

RE: search
By wien on 7/4/2006 11:52:51 AM , Rating: 2
That would be against the law, now wouldn't it? So the person that STOLE the database should be dealt with by the proper authorities. The search engines just don't enter into it.

RE: search
By masher2 on 7/4/2006 11:58:59 AM , Rating: 2
> "The search engines just don't enter into it."

That's rather like saying someone fencing stolen goods shouldn't be liable...after all, they're not the ones who stole them, right?

If search engines are knowingly linking to illegal sites, then they're making a profit off them. And that makes them liable. If Yahoo China accidently spidered a few sites, that's one thing...but if they were informed of illegality, and refuse to address the situation, then they should be held fully accountable.

RE: search
By wien on 7/4/2006 2:51:51 PM , Rating: 2
Well.. fencing stolen goods is illegal where I come from, so... no.
If search engines are knowingly linking to illegal sites, then they're making a profit off them. And that makes them liable.
The whole point of a search engine is that they do nothing like that knowingly. They have a bot running around collecting information, and then display that to searchers. At no point is someone sitting there saying "Aah, I see we have some copyrighted material here. That'll make us some dough. Let me put that at the top of our search results.". Making Yahoogle hide search results doesn't really do anything either, as the stuff's still there. Making the person hosting the material remove it however, does help.

If anything, the record companies should be thankful search engines make it possible for them to find induviuals that post their copyrighted material online. Those are the fuggers they should be going after.

RE: search
By Trisped on 7/5/2006 12:14:13 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is that search engines are just that, engines, machines, programs that jump from link to link and collect pieces of data and organize them in a database so they can then be search for latter. Some of this data is found in meta tags, where content providers list key words they wish to be affiliated with. Some is from the page its self. The engine isn’t smart enough to know if a sight has illegal content or not. Neither are many people.

As for search engines displaying results from sites that don’t want the results displayed, that doesn’t happen if the site is written properly. As part of the header section a special meta tag can be used to indicate that search engines should not index the page.

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