Baidu's online library shrinks following piracy cleanup

Baidu has deleted almost 2.8 million documents from the library's 'literary works' category.

China's largest search engine Baidu is deleting millions of documents from its online library platform, in response to growing criticism from a group of authors that the company offers pirated copies of their works.

Baidu evaluated about 2.8 million files in the library's literary works category, deleting most of the files, according to spokesman Kaiser Kuo. The company continues to delete files as it processes other sections of the library.

Baidu Library, or Baidu Wenku as it is known in Chinese, allows users to upload documents to the site to share them. This has drawn complaints that the platform is a hotbed for piracy. In mid-March, the site held more than 20 million documents, but now the total has fallen to 16.5 million. The literary works category currently contains a mere 1,231 files.

Baidu launched the online library at the end of 2009, prompting a stream of complaints. Those concerns, however, turned into a public outcry earlier this month when a group of 40 Chinese writers released a letter slamming Baidu for the piracy on the site.

While the authors continue to express their dismay with the search giant, Baidu hopes its recent action to rid the site of piracy will show its critics that the company is intent on protecting intellectual property.

"We hope that authors and publishers will recognize this as a sign of good faith and of the seriousness of our intention to keep infringing materials off the site going forward," Kuo said in an e-mail.

Baidu is China's largest search engine with a 75.5 percent market share, according to Beijing-based research firm Analysys International. But the company has faced numerous allegations that the site supports online piracy.

For years, Baidu's MP3 search has been accused of providing links to illegal songs hosted on third party sites, with a recent U.S. government report naming Baidu as a "notorious market." But the MP3 search service continues to operate and has so far withstood lawsuits.

Baidu's MP3 service has not been shut down because it only searches the Web for what music links are already available, said Mark Natkin, the managing director of Beijing-based Marbridge Consulting. In contrast, Baidu Library actively stores and hosts all the documents uploaded to the site, making the company responsible for its contents, he said.

The uproar has also drawn the attention of Chinese authorities such as the General Administration of Press and Publication, forcing Baidu to take action, Natkin said: "Baidu is remarkable adroit at gauging exactly where the line is and knowing when it needs to step back."

During a conference held earlier this week, Baidu CEO Robin Li said the company would pull the plug on the library platform if it could not be managed correctly.

But Natkin said he doesn't expect the problems with Baidu Library to reach that point, considering the measures the company is already taking. "I would not be surprised to see Baidu navigate this without having to shut down (Baidu) Wenku," he said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags social mediacopyrightinternetlegalsearch enginesintellectual propertyInternet-based applications and servicesBaidu.com

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?