|On the road to respect for copyright there is not much traffic|
Photo Danny Friedmann
Professor Shao's argument that copyright might overprotect and stifle creativity is valid as such, but does not apply to the decision of Shanda whether or not to sue Baidu. The reason Shanda sued Baidu because they wanted to stop the copyright infringements and be compensated for the damages inflicted upon itself. Nothing frivolous here. Commercial companies should use the law that is available to their best interests. That is their obligation they have towards their employees and stockholders. And the Shanghai court needs to apply the law regardless of who is the plaintiff and defendant, and not in a teleological way (towards a certain goal, in this case access of knowledge by Baidu users). In a moral sense professor Shao might be right if Baidu would not unfairly benefit and if the law was applied consistently (but then the law could be changed) to copyright holders, but his lofty expectations that commercial companies follow many moral principles might not be based in reality.
Although I do not completely agree with Professor Shao, I think his article is a great kick-off for further discussion on the issues copyright morality, a balanced copyright and rising awareness for the internet users about the topic. Read it here.