Chinese official supports writers in copyright fight with search engine Baidu

09:14, April 02, 2011      

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An official with China's copyright watchdog has expressed support to writers involved in a recent copyright battle with search engine giant Baidu.

Wang Ziqiang, director of the copyright management department of the National Copyright Administration, said Friday that the administration supported the writers' move to protect their legitimate rights and the administration would handle the case in accordance with laws.

Wang made the remarks in an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of a meeting in southern city of Nanning, which discussed issues related to crackdowns on pornography and illegal publications.

More than 40 Chinese writers posted an online open letter on March 15, accusing Baidu of stealing their works and infringing on their copyrights. Baidu's Wenku database was blamed for allowing literary works to become available online without the authors' prior approval.

Later, negotiations between writers and Baidu broke down as Baidu turned down requests for compensation for the writers' losses. The writers also requested a public apology and a halt to any cases of copyright infringement, both of which were denied by Baidu.

However, Baidu has pledged to remove all unauthorized literary works from its free Wenku database within three days.

On March 28, Robin Li, chairman and CEO of Baidu, said the company is stepping up anti-piracy efforts and hopes to work out a mutually beneficial business model to settle the dispute.

Wang applauded the "relatively proactive" attitude Baidu has adopted. But he said it is by no means a closure of the case, and that the administration will continue to investigate the matter.

Wang said, "Baidu Wenku has provided a channel to disseminate pirated works, thereby violating the writers' copyrights. Copyright law enforcement organs will determine whether Baidu has violated relevant laws and regulations after their investigation."

Figures released during the meeting showed that China confiscated more than 10 million illegal publications during the first two months of 2011. About 9.4 million of the confiscated publications were pirated copies of legal publications.

Since the beginning of this year, China has intensified its crackdown on the spread of pornographic content, intellectual property right infringement and the production and sale of pirated goods.

Source: Xinhua
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