China's Baidu faces lawsuit from rivals, MPAA over video piracy

The groups are suing Baidu for about US$50 million

Baidu is facing a lawsuit over alleged video piracy in China from several rivals and the Motion Picture Association of America.

Baidu is facing a lawsuit over alleged video piracy in China from several rivals and the Motion Picture Association of America.

Chinese search giant Baidu is facing a chorus of complaints for allegedly stealing online video content from rivals, resulting in a 300 million yuan (US$48.9 million) lawsuit against the Internet company.

Four online video providers in China, including Youku Tudou, Sohu and Tencent, said on Wednesday they had filed the legal action, and accused Baidu of promoting online piracy. Joining them in the suit was the Motion Picture Association of America and Dalian Wanda Group, a major Chinese entertainment and film company.

"Under this situation, we really will have no way to compete," said Sohu CEO Charles Zhang in a press conference. "We've spent so much money buying online content, but half of our user traffic goes to Baidu video."

Known as the country's largest search engine, Baidu also runs services that host online video for PC and smartphone users. But many of these videos are sourced from rival sites that are paying millions of dollars in Internet bandwidth costs and copyright licenses, Baidu's competitors alleged.

Rather than redirect users to the third-party site where the video originates, Baidu instead streams the content from its own web pages or PC and mobile applications. This deprives the rivals of crucial user traffic needed to sustain revenue. In some cases, Baidu will even display its own ads on the third-party videos, the groups claimed.

Baidu, however, said it also takes fighting online piracy seriously. In an email, the company said it cracks down on unlicensed content it finds or is alerted to. Since June, the search giant has blocked over 5.8 million links to pirated videos, it said.

In addition, Baidu said it is responsible for 75 percent of Internet video searches in China. Every day, it brings 100 million user visits to online video sites with licensed content, the company added.

Wednesday's dispute is not the first time Baidu has caught flak for piracy. Years prior Baidu faced similar criticism for its online music search, which allegedly funneled users to pirated songs on third-party sites. In 2011, however, the search giant struck deals to pay major record labels to access to their music catalogs.

In China, some of the most popular pirated videos are U.S. movies and TV shows. Online piracy, however, has stolen potential revenue from services that legally stream the content online, the groups claimed. Instead, China's film industry, for example, still has to earn most of its cash from movie theater ticket sales.

China is one of the world's largest markets, and U.S. Hollywood studios are trying to gain more access to the country's consumers. Its film box office is growing fast and could surpass that of the U.S. in 2020, according to a study from consulting and services firm Ernst & Young.

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 internetlegalsearch enginesvideointellectual propertybaiduInternet-based applications and services

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

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Bitdefender solutions stop attacks before they even begin! Get cybersecurity that 500 MILLION users already have and trust.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?