[photopress:IT.jpg,full,alignright]And even the ranks of Tuscany could scarce forbear to cheer. A group of leading international record companies have lost their lawsuit against Baidu.com for the alleged illegal downloading and sharing of their music.
Baidu is one of China’s largest Internet search engines. Arrayed against were seven companies, including EMI, SONY BMG, Warner Music and Universal Music.
In 2005 they accused Baidu.com of engaging in illegal downloading and playing 137 pieces of music owned by the record companies online without their permission.
(Note, with some amusement, that Happy Birthday to You, while not included in this suit, is seen by the music companies to be owned by them. It was written by American sisters Patty Hill and Mildred J. Hill in 1893 but the music companies claim that one note was later split and three words changed and that makes it copyright. They sued the Girl Guides for singing it.)
This time these downright, forthright, upright, stalwart upholders of the cultural rights of the United States demanded a public apology from Baidu, the suspension of its download service and compensation of RMB1.67 million ($226,000).
The People’s High Court of Beijing said in its final ruling that Baidu’s service does not constitute an infringement.
Last November, Beijing’s First Intermediate Court also ruled that Baidu’s service, which provides web links to the music, does not constitute an infringement. All the music is downloaded from web servers of third parties.
The record companies, of course, appealed to the higher court and lost again.
Baidu argued that the MP3 search engine it provided was the same as other search engines providing links to web pages, news and pictures.
Some web servers have put a huge amount of copyrighted music onto the Internet and offered them to millions of netizens without permission from copyright owners.
Baidu said it searched all music file formats through the Internet, such as “.mp3” or “.wav”, making no distinction between copyrighted and pirated songs. It had nothing to do with our illustration which shows music written in 1893. And, as far as one can tell, you can play it without being sued.
Source: China Views
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