Domestic and international music industry groups lashed out at Chinese search engine Baidu Tuesday, with one Chinese copyright official calling it "the largest and most incorrigible purveyor of pirated music in China."
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), along with the Music Copyright Society of China (MCSC) and the China Audio-Video Copyright Association (CAVCA) issued a statement singling out Baidu for "blatant and massive piracy of music," namely for providing links to unauthorized digital copies of both Chinese and international music.
The groups, joined by IFPI member companies and local Chinese music labels, stopped short of taking new legal action against Baidu, but called upon advertisers and other companies to back copyright protection by not giving financial support to those that assist music piracy.
"Baidu believes in copyright protection and we have already announced a series of partnerships with companies such as EMI Music, Rock Music Group and over half of the domestic recording companies in China that provide users with high-quality, fully-licensed music through an advertising-supported free music streaming model. ... Baidu takes intellectual property rights seriously, continues to work to fight piracy on the internet by developing innovative business models, and welcomes future cooperation with other recording companies and publishing companies, both domestic and international," the company said in an e-mail statement.
Baidu is China's most popular search engine, with over 60 per cent of the local search market. In December a Beijing court ruled against the IFPI in a lawsuit it filed against Baidu.