Authors score victory as Baidu deletes unauthorized works

16:15, April 01, 2011      

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China's search giant Baidu said on March 30 that it has deleted all unauthorized literary works on its document-sharing platform Baidu Wenku after it was accused by 50 authors of copyright infringement.

The company also said that it has officially launched a copyright cooperation platform on Baidu Wenku, marking a move to offer authorized works in the future.

On March 15, 50 authors jointly criticized Baidu Wenku on their microblogs for copyright infringement, accusing Baidu of uploading their unauthorized works for free downloads and dubbing Baidu as a "thief firm."

Baidu Wenku allows users to upload works and offers them bonus points. Baidu said on March 26 that it would delete works that will likely infringe others' copyrights within three days.

Internet users are now unable to upload novels that they downloaded from other websites to Baidu Wenku. To protect the interests of copyright owners and to combat piracy, Baidu also launched the copyright cooperation platform, through which copyright owners can work with Baidu by means of paid-to-read and advertising revenue sharing modes.

The anti-piracy alliance that comprises publishers and authors rapidly gave a response on March 31, noting that although Baidu deleted 2.8 million literary works out of a total of 17 million uploaded works, it still offers a great number of unauthorized non-literary works.

As for Baidu's cooperative platform, publishers and authors said that if Baidu runs its online library and the cooperative platform at the same time, it means copyright owners will have to cooperate with Baidu to have their copyrights protected, which is no different from being extorted.

The Internet Society of China praised Baidu for deleting the pirated works, saying that copyright issues on the Internet are becoming complicated, and Internet companies should make efforts to build a fair, win-win Internet copyright protection mechanism through rational negotiations with copyright holders.

Many posts calling on netizens to stop uploading copyright-protected works to Baidu Wenku have recently appeared on Baidu Tieba and Tianya Club. However, some netizens said that Wenku has helped them a lot, and hopes Baidu and copyright holders can talk it through rationally.

The cooperative platform provides two reading modes, a paid mode and advertising mode. Under the paid mode, readers can only read part of a book for free, and will have to pay to read the whole book. Under the advertising mode, the whole book is available for free reading, but readers have to bear various ads.

Industry insiders said that as China's largest search engine, Baidu's move of taking down all pirated literary works indicates that free stuff on the Chinese Internet may be gradually disappearing

In order to better prevent netizens from uploading infringing works, Baidu said it will unveil a "copyright DNA identification" technology on April 11 to combat piracy from the start.

By People's Daily Online

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