Top China search engine Baidu is sued by MPAA and Chinese video websites

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Baidu, which is the top search engine in China, and QVOD, a Chinese video on demand service, are being targeted for copyright violation. The suing parties are seeking $49.2 million in damages and they have named themselves the The Joint Action Against Online Video Piracy in China.

The JAAOVPC — I guess coming up with a catchy acronym wasn’t on the top of their list — is made up of a collective of American and Chinese companies. They include Tencent Holdings, Sohu, as well as the Motion Picture Association of America and Youku Tudou, which is China’s most expansive video site.

Ironically enough Youku, before it’s merger with Todou a few years ago, had been the focus of piracy lawsuit and in the end had to pay $17,235 for copyright violation. It’s interesting how fast things can change. (Note: If $17,235 seems like a small sum, that is because it is. In China, financial payment for damages caused by copyright violation isn’t as strict as in the United States and other countries.)

Baidu is still defending their position, saying that they do a lot to fight online piracy as well:

“We have always prioritized copyright protection. We have gone to great length to support copyrighted material. Piracy is a challenge for all of us. We hope to tackle it with our industry friends.

So far the company claims to have denied access to 5.8 million pirated copy links but we have to wonder… a large part of the Chinese offline economy is based on bootleg products, so why does anyone expect the online counterpart be any different? Food for thought.

[via Forbes]

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