Music Companies Sue China's Baidu, Sohu
By JOE McDONALD
AP Business Writer
AP Photo/NG HAN GUAN
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BEIJING (AP) -- Music companies have started a new fight with China's Internet industry over piracy, filing lawsuits accusing popular Web sites Baidu.com and Sohu.com of aiding illicit online copying, an industry group said Wednesday.
The suits, filed Monday, ask a Beijing court to order Baidu and Sohu to remove from their search engines links to thousands of sites that carry unlicensed copies of music, the International Federation of Phonographic Industries said.
Music companies lost an earlier lawsuit against Baidu. But China later changed its piracy standards, and companies won a similar case last year against Yahoo's China arm.
"We sent notices to Baidu to get them to take down the links and they failed to comply, so we had to sue them," said the IFPI's Asia regional director, Leong May Seey.
In another moved aimed at undercutting Baidu's popularity among music fans, Google Inc. is poised to offer an advertising-supported service in China that will offer legal downloads of songs for free, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The new Google service, which could debut in the next few weeks, will be offered in a joint venture with Top100.cn, a Beijing-based Web site that already has licensing agreements with Universal Music Group and about 100 other labels. The Journal's report cited unnamed people close to the situation