IFPI Chairman Pleased with Yahoo! China Ruling

A search engine. There is little wonder why such a simple concept can become one of the biggest successes on the internet to date.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

Used by millions of users a day, it can find answers to things like technical questions, what a strange file is or what really is the definition of a certain virus. With such power over what can be accessed can come at a price – at least, that is what Yahoo! China discovered in a recent court case against the music industry.

“This is a good news day for the music industry. This judgement will boost the growth of a licensed digital music business in China and provides better protection for intellectual property in this vast, exciting market. The ruling promises to improve the whole environment in which the local and international music industry does business in China.”

These words came from John Kennedy, chairman and chief executive of the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) who described the outcome of the court case against Yahoo! China.

For those not following the case, Yahoo! China was accused of linking to a website allegedly carrying 229 pirated songs via their search engine. Instead of going after the website in question, the IFPI’s member companies took a different approach – they filed a lawsuit against Yahoo! China.

Unfortunately for Yahoo, they lost the case. Yahoo! China stressed that they meet and exceed international copyright laws and appealed the case. The main argument is that a search engine should not be held liable for content posted by a third party website.

“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”, explained John Kennedy in a statement. “The judgment gives our members the legal basis to require all music search engines in China to remove infringing links from their service – which we will do. The Court has effectively called time on this type of mass digital piracy in China. Now we must see that this ruling is respected by all those who seek to profit from providing access to music online in this way.”

It’s an interesting statement considering merely weeks ago, the Motion Picture Association of America was pointing to physical piracy occurring in China – not digital.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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