First reported by foreign media and now confirmed from China sources, several international and Chinese music companies have joined hands to call on businesses to stop advertising with Baidu.com (BIDU), the largest Internet search engine service in China.
Along with the Music Copyright Society of China and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, the companies jointly issued an announcement on Tuesday in which they said that Baidu was the largest provider of pirated music in China, and it had become a common goal for all the parties involved to take a decisive action against it.
Companies that signed the announcement included Universal Music, EMI, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner-Chappell Music and Chinese local record companies like Linfair Music, Linfair Music Publishing, Taihe Rye Music, EMI Music Publishing, Sony BMG, Seed Music, R2G, Zhu Shu Fang Music and Yue Lin Music, which reportedly represent more than 80% of the Chinese music market and a significant portion of international mainstream music.
The parties said that they had already sent a letter to each of the major advertising companies, suggesting them make a prudent consideration before placing advertisements on a media involved in piracy like Baidu.com. They said that Baidu has been involved in piracy by providing thousands of links for users to download unlicensed music.
In addition, R2G, a major music distributor in China, said it sued Baidu in a Beijing court on May 16, accusing the Chinese search engine of not legally acting on removing online music links.
Baidu has responded to the parties' action, saying that it takes this matter seriously and emphasizing that it has always attached high importance to the Internet sector's copyright protection. Baidu says as a listed company in the United States, it has been abiding by China's intellectual property right laws and made measures to carry them out. The company says it has entered cooperation with about 60 music companies on record promotion and advertisement profit sharing and it will take more measures in the future to promote the development of digital music.