RealTime IT News

Chinese Music Industry Files Suit Against Baidu

Two groups representing China's local musicians and songwriters have filed a lawsuit against the country's Web search leader, Baidu.com, accusing it of copyright violation.

The move signaled that domestic artists as well as international firms are disgruntled at the firm's free music search service.

[cob:Related_Articles]Baidu, whose search engine allows users to listen to and search 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.

"This lawsuit is just the beginning," Music Copyright Society executive Qu Jingming of China said in the statement.

A spokesperson for Baidu could not be reached for comment.

Baidu led China's 946.6 million yuan ($133 million) search engine market in last year's fourth quarter with a 60.1 percent share, according to research firm Analysys International.

Google came in 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, Sony BMG Music Entertainment (Hong Kong) and Warner Music Hong Kong have asked a court to order Baidu to remove all links on its music delivery service to tracks to which they own the rights, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) 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, accounts for less than 1 percent of global recorded music sales.