SHANGHAI Two industry groups representing
China's local musicians and songwriters have filed a lawsuit
against the country's Web search leader, Baidu.com Inc,
accusing it of copyright violation.
The move signalled that domestic artists as well as
international firms are disgruntled at the firm's free music
Baidu, whose search engine allows users to listen to and
search for song files for free, is taking advantage of China's
relatively unsophisticated music industry to boost its
advertising income, Music Copyright Society of China and
digital music distributor R2G said in a statement.
The firms had filed a suit in Beijing in January, and are
calling for Baidu to immediately halt copyright violations and
offer compensation, the statement added but did not give
"This lawsuit is just the beginning," the statement quoted
Music Copyright Society executive Qu Jingming of China as
A spokesperson for Baidu could not be reached for comment.
Baidu led China's 946.6 million yuan (67 million pound)
search engine market in last year's fourth quarter with a 60.1
percent share, according to research firm Analysys
Google Inc came second with a 25.9 percent share, followed
by Yahoo China with 9.6 percent.
Earlier this month, three global record companies have
launched legal proceedings against Baidu, 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 have asked a court to
order Baidu to remove all links on its music delivery service
to tracks that they own the rights to, the International
Federation of the Phonographic Industry said.
IFPI has said that more than 99 percent of all music files
distributed in China are pirated, and the country's total
legitimate music market, at $76 million (38 million pounds),
accounts for less than 1 percent of global recorded music
(Reporting by Sophie Taylor; editing by Ken Wills)