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Baidu sued for online video piracy

2013-11-13 16:56 Xinhua Web Editor: qindexing

Baidu, Inc., China's largest search engine, is being sued for providing illegal links to and pirated broadcast of online videos, according to a joint campaign against video piracy launched on Wednesday.

Members of the campaign include the country's leading online video providers -- Youku Tudou Inc., Tencent and Sohu Inc. -- the China Film Copyright Association and the Motion Picture Association of America.

The group is suing Baidu for 300 million yuan (almost 50 million U.S. dollars) for losses caused by the company's practices, according to a statement at the campaign launch.

The same coalition has already instigated more than 100 lawsuits against copyright violations by Baidu and Shenzhen QVOD Technology Co. for "increasingly serious" online video piracy, the statement said.

It said the group will take measures against video piracy and pirated links and web visitors using Baidu's video products will have access blocked starting Wednesday.

Zhang Chaoyang, Souhu's CEO, said the country's video industry has major problems due to copyright violations.

The creative industry that centers on copyright will suffer a crushing blow if nothing is done, Zhang said.

Chen Xianfeng, lawyer with Zhejiang T&C Law Firm, said Baidu's violations mainly include providing illegal links of other sites' videos and offering support for pirated video websites in terms of traffic and earnings.

The violations were realized mainly through four of Baidu's products -- its online video search engine, video playing software, the mobile application for its videos and Baidu Video Stick, which is a small piece of hardware for transmitting videos in mobile phones or personal computers to a television, Chen said.

The group called for companies including Baidu and Shenzhen QVOD to respect the video industry and stop copyright violations.

It also said related authorities should crack down on violations.

At 5 p.m., Baidu responded to the piracy issue in a statement posted on the official microblog of Baidu Video on Sina Weibo, China's most popular twitter-like microblogging website.

"Baidu Video has always attached great importance to copyright protection in the video industry," the posting said.

Since the beginning of last year, the company has taken many measures against piracy, including an automatic screening system to eliminate pirated videos, a platform to receive complaints about piracy and refusing to recommend pirated videos to users, it said.

The Baidu Video site (v.baidu.com) is the largest platform for video websites with copyrights and contributes to 75 percent of the industry's search traffic, the statement said.

"As piracy is a common problem confronting the video industry, Baidu will continue to intensify a crack down on piracy," according to the posting.

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