Yahoo! China loses, Baidu wins copyright lawsuit

Yahoo! China lost their appeal to the Beijing Higher People’s Court who upheld a lower court’s ruling in April that the company had violated copyright laws. Yahoo! China has insisted all along that it only provides links to websites for music search results and they should not be held liable for content provided by those third-party web sites.

The lawsuit was brought by label companies EMI, Universal Music Group, Warner Music, Sony BMG Music Entertainment and 7 other members of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). The court ruled that Yahoo! China will now has to pay $28,600 in damages, far less than the $750,000 the music group was seeking.

Meanwhile, Baidu.com successively won the first and second round of their trial. Seven label companies filed the lawsuit against Baidu.com for infringement of their music copyrights. Baidu.com, like Yahoo! China had been insisting that the responsibility lied in the third party websites that provided the illegal music downloads. The local court in Beijing ruled that the music download service offered by Baidu.com was in fact legal.

Early this year, Baidu and EMI signed a strategic partnership deal for online music streaming and download services. Baidu is now authorized to stream EMI Chinese music on its music search channel. EMI Music, the world’s largest independent music company, will share the revenues generated by the advertising.

David Temple

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