Thursday, December 08, 2005

Portrait: "Baidu is strong on censoring, weak on IP protection"

The Guardian's Jonathan Watts wrote an interesting article about China's biggest search engine and its ambitious CEO Robin Li.

"Critics say these are minor adjustments to a design and business model that is largely a copy of Google. The reason for Baidu's success, they argue, is that it collaborates with the communist authorities on censoring sensitive political information more than its rivals do and is less stringent in blocking access to sites that offer pirate film and music downloads. Look for the name of dissident writer Lu Xiaobo or references to the Tiananmen Square massacre on Baidu and no information appears. But search for Radiohead or Britney Spears and Baidu offers a specific MP3 channel that directs you towards pirate downloads of every song the band and singer have ever made. The record company EMI successfully sued Baidu in Beijing this week over this MP3 service - which accounts for 20% of Baidu's traffic - but Li said his company would appeal."

Read more here.

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