11 music industry giants are suing Yahoo! China for alleged copyright infringement. The lawsuit was filed by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) on behalf of the their members. Among the 11 are Warner Music, Sony BMG, EMI Group PLC and Universal Music Group. According to the suit, Yahoo! China was providing links to unlicensed music in its search results and helping users download music illegally by displaying those results.
The case was filed in early January and the plaintiffs seek damages of 5.5 million RMB ($710,686 USD).” Music publishers lost a similar case against China’s leading search engine, Baidu, in November of last year. Baidu was also accused of publishing links to sites offering illegal music downloads. The Beijing court ruling was “that the service did not consitute an infringement” since the music was downloaded from web servers other than Baidu’s.
Yahoo! China has denied the charges and claims, “the courts have clearly established the precedent that search engine operators are not liable for content posted on third-party Web sites”.
“Yahoo! China respects intellectual property rights and supports the fight against music piracy,” Yahoo! China spokesman Porter Erisman said in an e-mailed statement.
“The courts have clearly established the precedent that search engine operators are not liable for content posted on third-party Web sites,” he added.