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Baidu Faces New Lawsuit over Music Piracy
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A Chinese music website has filed a lawsuit against Baidu.com, demanding a suspension of its service that allows access to free music products owned by the plaintiff and 100 million Yuan (US$13 million) in compensation.

5fad.com announced on Wednesday in Hangzhou, the capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, that Baidu, one of China's largest Internet search engines, had posted links to websites offering free playing and downloading of more than 1,000 pieces of its copyrighted music through a so-called "deep link" function.

Wu Duanping, president of Zhejiang Fanya E-commerce Co. Ltd., which owns the website, said his company suffered financial losses because of Baidu's downloading service. He said that 5fad had sent dozens of formal notifications to Baidu asking it to suspend the service, but Baidu had failed to respond.

Beijing High People's Court has accepted the case.

An officer with the media department of Baidu.com reported via a telephone interview with Xinhua that it was the fifth lawsuit over illegal MP3 downloading lodged by 5fad.com against Baidu since last year.

“The music website had withdrawn the charges twice. A Zhejiang court turned down one case and a Beijing court ruled in favor of Baidu in a final-instance verdict,” said the officer who declined to give her name.

She did not rule out the possibility that 5fad was trying to promote itself by filing charges against Baidu.

She claimed that Baidu had made efforts toward protecting Internet intellectual property rights.

The case came after a group of international music companies lost a lawsuit against Baidu last year for similar copyright infringement accusations.

EMI, Sony BMG, Warner Music and Universal Music all accused Baidu of engaging in illegal downloading and playing of music owned by them without their permission. They demanded the suspension of its download service and 1.73 million Yuan in compensation.

However, a Beijing intermediate court ruled in favor of Baidu, which did not constitute an infringement as all the music is downloaded from web servers of third parties.

(Xinhua News Agency July 19, 2007)

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