Chinese Search Engines Baidu & Sogou Sued For Copyright Infringement
Universal Music Ltd, Warner Music Hong Kong Ltd and Sony BMG Music Entertainment (Hong Kong) Ltd have filed copyright infringement lawsuits in a Beijing court against Baidu.com, China’s most popular search engine. The music companies allege Baidu violates copyrights by simply linking to music files. And of course, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has chimed in by stating the music concerns have simply asked the court to mandate that Baidu remove all links to music owned by the labels.
The IFPI has been campaigning heavily around the world for ISPs to police their networks for illegal file sharing, but now to ask a Search Engine to eliminate all links to music files not hosted on its servers is demonstrating that they are clearly out of touch in the digital age.
Baidu is not the only search utility being targeted, separate legal proceedings have been launched by the aforementioned labels along with Gold Label Entertainment Ltd against Chinese media company Sohu.com Inc and its search engine, Sogou. Yahoo! China will also be targeted according to the IFPI.
It’s not the first time Baidu has been accused of copyright infringement by linking to music files. EMI, not part of this new litigation, sued Baidu in late 2005, but a Chinese court found that under a previous law Baidu was not liable for copyright infringement. After an appeal, the decision was upheld in a November 2006 ruling.