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Baidu search engine accused of infringing on copyrights

[ 2011-03-17 10:31]     字号 [] [] []  
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Dozens of popular Chinese writers have accused the search engine giant Baidu of infringing on their copyrights and branded it a "thief" in the latest claims of piracy against the company.

More than 40 writers, including the popular blogger Han Han and writer Jia Pingwa, have signed a letter claiming Baidu provided their works for free downloads on its online library, Baidu Wenku, without their permission.

"Baidu has become a totally corrupt thieving company," the authors said in the letter posted on Tuesday on the website of the China Written Works Copyright Society. "It stole our works, our rights, our property and has turned Baidu Wenku into a marketplace of stolen goods," it said.

Baidu Wenku, launched in 2009, allows users to read, share or download files and books, or their excerpts, for free. Readers can also purchase books from the online library - at a much lower cost than the cover price.

All documents are uploaded by Internet users. As of November, Baidu Wenku had stockpiled more than 10 million files and books, accounting for 70 percent of China's online file-sharing market, according to the company's figures.

Baidu's spokesman Kaiser Kuo said the search engine "attaches great importance to intellectual property rights protection" and had deleted "tens of thousands of infringing items" uploaded by Web users.

"We promised that authors or copyright holders can report problematic content found on Baidu Library to the complaint center ... and we will delete infringing content within 48 hours," Kuo said in a statement on Wednesday.

In a disclaimer on its website, Baidu said users who uploaded the files must accept all liabilities and be responsible for compensation in any copyright disputes.

However, the writers insisted Baidu should bear responsibility, saying the company took advantage of the uploads to "enhance its own influence, boost its stock price and increase its profits."

"We do not blame the friends who uploaded (the documents). We only blame the evil platform of Baidu," they said.

Zhang Hongbo, deputy director general of the China Written Works Copyright Society, also said on Tuesday that the society is collecting more evidence and may sue Baidu for copyright violation.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Baidu search engine accused of infringing on copyrights

About the broadcaster:

Baidu search engine accused of infringing on copyrights

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is also fluent in Korean.