Monday, November 20, 2006

Baidu Acquitted Of Charges By HK Music Companies Of Copyright Infringements

In September seven Hong Kong music companies brought against Baidu, the largest search engine of China, a copyright infringement lawsuit. Beijing No.1 Intermediate People's Court ruled that the accusations did not have adequate legal support.

The seven companies were:
Universal Music Hong Kong Limited;
Go East Entertainment;
Warner Music Hong Kong Limited;
Sony BMG Music Entertainment (Hong Kong) Limited;
EMI Group Hong Kong Limited;
Cinepoly Music and Gold Label Entertainment.

The music companies, represented by the International Federation of Phonographic Industry (IFPI), accused Baidu of providing and spreading pirated versions of 137 songs for which the record companies hold copyrights through, which enables Internet users to search and download music on the Internet. They were seeking a total of RMB 1.67 million (USD 208,750) in compensation, a public apology, and for Baidu to cease facilitating downloads of pirated music.

"During the hearing Baidu argued that it never uploaded any music or songs to its own servers, nor provided any music downloads to users. The company iterated that it was just an online search platform that provided search results according to the input of users. Its "MP3 Search Service," is just one of its search services, and is not much different than the other services it offers, the company said."

IFPI's Benjamin Ng said they would definitely appeal to a higher court. To be continued.

Read more in an article of Interfax China here.

Baidu "strong on censoring, weak on copyright enforcement" here.

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