Record labels, internet
***We have become a bit concerned about the accuracy of some of the IFPI’s reports recently and would like to point readers to an article on the Music 2.0 website regarding the background to the IFPI’s actions against Baidu and Yahoo! China: http://www.music2dot0.com/archives/95***
With that in mind, we should make it clear that the following is taken from an IFPI press release
The IFPI has announced a series of new steps to “try to develop a music business in China based on respect rather than blatant violation of copyright laws” saying that legal proceedings have been filed today against the country’s biggest internet company, Baidu. Separate actions have also been brought against Sohu and its associate company Sogou. Meanwhile, Yahoo! China faces fresh proceedings following its refusal to comply with the court ruling in December confirming it violated Chinese law by committing mass copyright infringement. All of the Chinese companies involved operate similar services based on delivering music to their users via “deep links” to hundreds of thousands of infringing tracks on third party sites, with the aim of driving their own advertising revenue. Such services have been confirmed as in breach of copyright by the December judgment of the Beijing Higher People’s Court. Each of them is a driver of copyright abuse in China, where the huge potential for the online music sector is being stymied by copyright theft. The IFPI add that China has potentially the largest online music-buying public in the world with as many broadband connections as the United States. Currently, however, more than 99 per cent of all music files distributed in the country are pirate and China’s total legitimate music market, at US$76 million, accounts for less than one per cent of global recorded music sales. The action follows in the wake of a decisive judgment against Yahoo China in December 2007 by the Beijing Higher People’s Court. The IFPI add that the court’s finding that Yahoo China’s music delivery service is illegal under Chinese law sets a precedent for cases against similar operations in China (and it is on this matter we expect an article from China). Three record companies have now filed proceedings against Baidu. The new claims have been filed with the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court by Universal Music Ltd, Sony BMG Music Entertainment ( Hong Kong) Ltd and Warner Music Hong Kong Ltd. The three companies are asking the court to order Baidu to remove all links on its music delivery service to copyright infringing tracks that they own the rights to. Action is also being taken today against Sohu and its associate company Sogou, which operates a similar service. Sogou makes profits through advertising that appears on the service and through sponsorship. Sogou also actively induces and encourages copyright infringement by means of recommendations and charts, while Sohu provides deep linking services through its associate company.