Copyright infringement cases brought against Baidu.com and Sogou, Sohu.com’s search engine, by a group of international music labels will be heard in a Chinese court, the Wall Street Journal reported. Sony BMG, Warner Music and Universal, acting either directly or through their Hong Kong subsidiaries, are seeking US$9 million in damages from Baidu. The same companies, plus a Hong Kong firm backed by EMI, want US$7.5 million in damages from Sogou. Although the amounts are small, they are the largest the music industry has sued for in China. If Beijing First Intermediate People’s Court awards the damages it might open the floodgates for more, far larger claims. The case hinges on whether the internet companies can be held responsible for carrying links to free, and largely unlicensed, music files even though they don’t host the content directly.
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