A group of leading international record companies have lost
their lawsuit against Baidu.com, one of China's largest Internet
search engines, for the alleged illegal downloading and sharing of
The seven companies, including EMI, SONY BMG, Warner Music and
Universal Music, in 2005, accused Baidu.com of engaging in illegal
downloading and playing 137 pieces of music owned by the record
companies online without their permission.
They demanded a public apology from Baidu, the suspension of its
download service and compensation of 1.67 million yuan
But the People's High Court of Beijing said in its final rule
Sunday that Baidu's service does not constitute an
Last November, Beijing's First Intermediate Court also ruled
that Baidu's service, which provides web links to the music, does
not constitute an infringement as all the music is downloaded from
web servers of third parties.
The record companies voiced their dissatisfaction at the ruling
and appealed to the higher court.
Baidu argued that the MP3 search engine it provided was the same
as other search engines providing links to web pages, news and
Some web servers have put a huge amount of copyrighted music
onto the Internet and offered them to millions of netizens without
permission from copyright owners.
Baidu said it searched all music file formats through the
Internet, such as ".mp3" or ".wav", making no distinction between
copyrighted and pirated songs.
(Xinhua News Agency December 31, 2007)