A legal case between Baidu, the No. 1 search engine in China, and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) is now over, with the search engine winning out over the multi-million dollar lawsuit.
Specifically, the Chinese court said deep linking MP3s doesn’t currently violate copyright law within the country’s borders, even if the practice’s legality remains in question. Several major record labels filed the $9 million infringement case in 2008, with analysts predicting that it’d be unlikely the IFPI would win the case.
The IFPI was unable to prove where any third-party sites were located, which is why Baidu had the copyright infringement suit successfully thrown out.
Lawyers from Universal Music, Warner Music Hong Kong and Sony BMG Music Entertainment Hong Kong first filed the lawsuit in February 2008 — although the IFPI case looked somewhat stable, Chinese courts have been hesitant to enforce anti-piracy measures against Chinese companies.
“The judgments in the Baidu and Sohu/Sogu cases are extremely disappointing, and we are considering our next steps,” the IFPI noted in a press statement after the decision was announced. “The verdicts do not reflect the reality that both operators have built their music search businesses on the basis of facilitating mass copyright infringement, to the detriment of artists, producers and all those involved in China’s legitimate music market.”
I actually give the IFPI credit for trying to punish Baidu regarding copyright infringement, as IFPI officials had to realize that pursuing a piracy case against the No. 1 search engine in China would not yield great results.