The Chinese Intermediate People's Court has cleared Baidu of copyright infringements through MP3 distribution as alleged in a lawsuit filled in February 2008 by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).
Two years ago, record companies had launched
legal proceedings against China's top Internet search engine Baidu.com, accusing it of violating copyright by giving access to music files.
Universal Music Ltd, Sony BMG Music Entertainment (Hong Kong) Ltd and Warner Music Hong Kong Ltd had asked a court to order Baidu to remove all links on its music delivery service to copyright-infringing tracks that they own the rights to.
Separate action was also being taken by Universal Music Ltd, Sony BMG Music Entertainment (Hong Kong) Ltd, Warner Music Hong Kong Ltd as well as Gold Label Entertainment Ltd against Chinese media firm Sohu.com Inc and its search engine, Sogou.
Both actions were cleared, Beijing Business Today
reported January 26. According to a court statement, providing search results does not contravene copyright law, the report said. The case against Baidu fell through because the plaintiffs failed to identify sites hosting unauthorized music downloads, the report said quoting lawyer Sun Yan.
"The judgments in the Baidu and Sohu/Sogou cases are extremely disappointing, and we are considering our next steps," the IFPI said in a statement to Reuters.
"The verdicts do not reflect the reality that both operators have built their music search businesses on the basis of facilitating mass copyright infringement, to the detriment of artists, producers and all those involved in China's legitimate music market."