Beijing Court confirms Yahoo’s music service infringes copyright law

January 2008

Record labels, internet

The international recording industry has hailed a landmark Beijing court ruling confirming that Yahoo China’s music delivery service violates Chinese law by facilitating mass copyright infringement. Yahoo China, part-owned by one of the world’s biggest internet companies, Yahoo Inc, runs an operation enabling users to search for, play and download pirate music without ever leaving its website.  Yahoo China’s appeal against a guilty verdict in April was today dismissed by the Beijing Court. The decision is made under new Chinese copyright laws which entered into force in 2006.  The Court separately ruled on a similar case against internet company, Baidu which ‘deep links’ to thousands of illegal tracks had been brought under the previous Chinese copyright laws.  The ruling confirmed that Baidu participated with and assisted third party sites in transmitting infringing music, but under the old laws Baidu was not liable for copyright infringement. Over 99 per cent of all music downloading in China infringes. In September 2005 IFPI filed claims on behalf of Gold Label, Go East, Cinepoly, EMI, Warner, Universal and Sony BMG – in the Beijing No.1 Intermediate Court regarding a total of 195 sound recordings claiming infringement of the record companies’ rights by Baidu for providing sound recordings to the public by means of streaming or download via the site.  In November 2006 the Beijing No.1 Intermediate People’s Court ruled that Baidu was not infringing and IFPI appealed on behalf of Go East, Cinepoly, Warner, Universal and Sony BMG to the Beijing Higher People’s Court who have now upheld that earlier ruling.

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