Baidu, Sohu And Yahoo Back In The Infringement Hot Seat
The recording industry is back on Baidu's (Nasdaq: BIDU) case and has decided to throw down against Sohu (Nasdaq: SOHU) search engine Sogou and toughen up on China Yahoo. The charges are the same for all three companies: providing deep links which provide access to copyrighted tracks. Baidu is being sued by Universal Music Ltd, Sony BMG Music Entertainment (Hong Kong) Ltd and Warner Music Hong Kong Ltd., while Sohu's Sogou is being sued by the three companies joined by Gold Label Entertainment Limited all in Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court. China Yahoo, on the other hand, is being called back to court for failing to adhere to court rulings handed down with its guilty verdict last December. The recent China Yahoo case, based on 2006 copyright laws, became the new precedent fueling this year's filings against Baidu and Sohu.
The same day China Yahoo was found guilty last December, Baidu was found innocent of similar charges brought under older copyright legislation. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and the recording industry are confident the China Yahoo precedent will help them win their new copyright cases, but China Yahoo's non-compliance may be a sign that winning isn't everything. According to an IFPI statement, prosecutors have contacted Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) regarding the upcoming China Yahoo case. It seems, however, the Internet company may be a bit more concerned with Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) offers than recycled Chinese lawsuits. Yahoo owns a 44% stake in Alibaba Group subsidiary China Yahoo. According to IFPI chairman and CEO John Kennedy, pirated music files account for more than 99% of music files distributed in China.
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