Chinese search giant Baidu in spot over copyright theftMarch 16th, 2011 - 6:23 pm ICT by ANI
Beijing, Mar.16 (ANI): Baidu, China’s search engine giant, has been accused of copyright violation by Chinese writers, who claim the website offered free online excerpts of their work without authorized permission.
On World Consumer Rights Day (March 15), more than 40 writers said in an open letter that Baidu stole their work and infringed on their copyrights.
The letter was posted on publisher Shen Haobo’s personal blog, and called for an end to the piracy.
Fang Zhouzi, a well-known writer, said he could find almost all his works on Baidu’s online library. Even a book published ten years ago was scanned and uploaded on the Internet.
He said: ” We hope to arouse attention from law enforcement authorities and to combat copyright thieves on the Internet.”
China Written Works Copyright Society has also issued a statement on its website urging all publishing companies and writers to jointly sue Baidu, as this is not the first time that it has been found violating copyright laws.
Similar complaints had surfaced last November from online publisher Shanda Literature Corporation (SDL), which owns over 80 percent of the country’s online literary publications as well as the seven leading original Chinese literature websites, Xinhua reports.
More than 1.1 million authors had signed contracts to provide Shanda with their original works. However, pirated versions could be easily found in Baidu search results.
Shanda CEO Hou Xiaoqiang said that Internet piracy on Baidu caused over one billion Yuan in losses to the SDL annually, adding that its ‘lenient’ attitude towards piracy had transformed Baidu’s online library into a hub for on-line copyright theft.
Baidu’s online library had been launched in November 2009 and offers an open platform for online resource sharing. Users can read or download information for free. All accumulated resources come from user uploads.
Baidu has admitted that some Internet users upload pirated content, but insisted that it only accounted for a small part of the library and said that it would introduce copyrighted works, and charge for online literature, to solve the issue.
But the writers did not see any improvement before releasing the letter to protest the piracy issue.
Song Huixian, an expert on China’s Copyright Protection Center has urged authorities to set up better mechanisms to promote effective spread of information on the Internet and also protect the interests and rights of copyright holders.
In this year’s government work report, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said: ” We will intensify our efforts to crack down on violations of intellectual property rights and the manufacture and sale of counterfeit or substandard goods.” (ANI)
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