Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Yahoo! China Ruling Shows Responsibility Sites For Removing Infringing Material

Remember the story about the allegations of copyright infringements (mp3 and ringtones) against Yahoo! China by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), in March, 2006? Read here.

The case was heard by the Beijing No.2 Intermediate People's Court on 10th April 2007. The judgement was delivered on 24th April 2007.

IFPI filed 11 separate claims for an injunction and damages against the Chinese internet search engine Yahoo! China on behalf of of EMI Group Hong Kong Limited, EMI Records Limited, EMI Taiwan Limited, Go East Limited, Mercury Records Limited, Sony BMG Music Entertainment (Taiwan) Limited, Sony BMG Music Entertainment , Universal International Music B.V, Universal Music Limited, Warner Music Hong Kong Limited and WEA International Inc.

IFPI's Chairman and Chief Executive John Kennedy made a statement on the site of IFPI which includes:

"The Beijing Court has confirmed that Yahoo! China has clear responsibility for removing all links to the infringing tracks on its service. Since this is a judgment made under new regulations in China, today’s judgment supersedes the previous decision on Baidu and confirms the responsibility of all similar music search providers in China."

Read Kennedy's statement here.


On request Alex Jacob of IFPI supplied me with the relevant regulations. Thanks a lot Alex.

Art.14, Art.15, Art. 23 of the Regulation on Protection of Dissemination Right through Information Network (July 2006). Therefore, the Defendant is jointly liable for the infringement.

Article 14
Where a right owner considers the works, performances, sound recordings or video recordings with which the service provided by a network service provider who provides information storage space, searching or linking services is concerned infringing his right of communication through information network, or that his electronic right management information on such works has been removed or altered, he may request network service providers, by submitting a written notification, to remove such works, performances, sound recordings or video recordings, or to disable the access to these works, performances, sound recordings or video recordings. The notification shall include the following contents:
(1) the name (appellation), means of contact and address of the right owner;
(2) the title and network address of the infringing works, performances, sound recordings or video recordings which are removed or the access is disabled on\nrequest of the right owner; and (3) the primary probative materials for the infringement.
The right owner shall be responsible for the truthfulness of the notification.

Article 15
The network service provider shall, upon receipt of the notification from a right owner, expeditiously remove or disable the access to the works, performances, sound recordings or video recordings that are claimed to be infringing, and at the same time transfer the notification to the subscriber who provides the works, performances, sound recordings or video recordings; where the notification cannot be transferred or the network address is not clear, the network service provider shall make public the content of the notification on the information network.

Article 23
Where a network service provider that provides searching or linking service to its subscribers, disconnect the link from (disable access to) the infringing works, performances, sound recordings or video recordings upon receiving the right owner’s notification according to these Regulations, it does not assume liability for compensation; where it knows or has a reasonable grounds to know that the linked works, performances, sound or video records are infringing other person’s right, it shall assume the liability for joint infringement.

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