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China Yahoo Loses Appeal in Music Infringement Case

Beijing Business Today, 12/24/07

On December 20 the Beijing High People's Court upheld its April 2007 ruling that China Yahoo violated International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) members' copyrights by facilitating downloads of pirated music. The IFPI asserted that China Yahoo's music service allowed users to search, play and download unlicensed music without leaving the search engine's website. In contrast, on the same day, Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU) won the final appeal of a similar lawsuit filed by five international record companies in the same court.

Industry analysts believe the 2 opposite outcomes were based upon different regulations- old and new, with Baidu's case subject to the older regulations. However, one prominent lawyer, Yu Guofu, has emphasized that, "Although the court made different rulings, the principles are the same, with both verdicts specifying that the search results provided by search engines should not violate copyright owners' rights. The reason China Yahoo lost the suit was because it didn't cooperate and immediately eliminate the illegal links." Although China Yahoo lost the suit, the damages awarded were only RMB 210,000, a relatively small fraction of the RMB 5 mln originally requested by the plaintiff.

Keywords: China Yahoo law litigation online search online music Beijing High People's Court IFPI IPR infringement Baidu BIDU Yu Guofu penalty Internet

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