25.04.07 09:57 Age: 17 yrs
Yahoo!China Loses Unauthorized Music Links Action
Beijing, China - April 25, 2007
Yahoo!China plans to appeal a ruling that found it guilty of abetting music piracy, according to a reliable source from the company.
"We will appeal this decision because we believe Yahoo!China's music search service both meets and exceeds the relevant legal standards for intellectual property protection," said Alibaba.com, which operates Yahoo China, in a statement by e-mail on Tuesday.
The Beijing Second People's Intermediate Court had given its verdict in favor of the 11 major record labels, which include EMI, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group & Warner Music. The Court had ordered Yahoo!China to pay RMB200,000 (USD$27,200) to the Plaintiffs.
The action was brought against Yahoo!China by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) early this year, seeking RMB5.5 million (USD$720,000) in damages, alleging Yahoo!China had provided links to other 3rd party websites which in turn, rendering unauthorized music downloads services.
Although Yahoo!China has agreed to delete the relevant links, it nevertheless disagreed with the premise of the ruling. "This is a case that has far-reaching implications for all search engines. An important principle is at stake in this case -- search engine operators should not be held liable for content posted on 3rd party websites," the company said.
The IFPI hailed the ruling."The Beijing Court has confirmed that Yahoo China has clear responsibility for removing all links to the infringing tracks on its service. Since this is a judgment made under new regulations in China, today's judgment supersedes the previous decision on Baidu and confirms the responsibility of all similar music search providers in China," said John Kennedy, the IFPI's chairman and chief executive, in a written statement.
In November 2006, the IFPI lost a similar action against Baidu.com - one of the China's largest internet search engines, which was cleared of encouraging illegal downloads by providing links to online MP3 files by the Beijing First People's Intermediate Court. The said case in now pending appeal.
According to a statement by Xu Yang, publicity director of Yahoo!China, "Baidu.com was cleared of similar charges last year. If any mistake has been made, Baidu made the same one. The argument in both cases is essentially the same."
(Source: Xinhua News Agency)