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Baidu and Yahoo! China Sued by Universal, Sony, Warner

By: Spacelab Research Staff

The music industry's struggle to clampdown the unauthorized distribution of their music gets more international ... Baidu.com, the popular Chinese search engine, has been sued by Universal Music, Warner Music Hong Kong and Sony BMG in Hong Kong. Their argument: Baidu has been violating copyright by providing access to music files.


But that's not all, according to The Register. Yahoo! China and others are being named as well.


"In addition, separate legal proceedings have been launched by the same three record firms alongside Gold Label Entertainment Ltd against Chinese media company Sohu.com Inc and its search engine, Sogou.


Yahoo! China can also expect legal action, said the IFPI, after it refused to budge on a landmark ruling in December which confirmed that it had violated Chinese law by committing mass copyright infringement through music downloads."


An announcement from the IFPI said "After months of fruitless negotiations, legal proceedings have been filed today against the country’s biggest internet company, Baidu. Separate actions have also been brought against Sohu and its associate company Sogou. Meanwhile, Yahoo China faces fresh proceedings following its refusal to comply with a landmark ruling in December confirming it violated Chinese law by committing mass copyright infringement."


They're taking issue the sites' deep linking to all sorts of fringe and thir-party sites, saying that the sites do this to drive advertising revenue as users bounce from their site to the linked sites, encountering ads along the way. The larger issue here seems to be that the music industry and IFPI find issue with provideing links to infringing content, not just the hosting of it. More of a you're either "with us or against us" strategy with no inbetween state.


So this all gets confusing, but, it looks like the IFPI action is separate but coordinated with Sony, Warner and and Universal. The legal action is being perpetrated on Baidu, Yahoo! China, Gold Label Entertainment, and Sohu.com.

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