Feeds

Music industry sues Yahoo! China

First step in crackdown on £216m illegal market

Application security programs and practises

The music industry is suing Yahoo! China over links the company allegedly provides to illegal music downloads.

Industry body the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has begun legal proceedings against the search and portal company in the Chinese courts after asking the company to take the action last April. The IFPI represents all the major music labels, including EMI, Sony-BMG and Warner Music.

"Yahoo! China has been blatantly infringing our members' rights," IFPI chief executive John Kennedy said. "We have started the process and as far as we're concerned we're on the track to litigation. If negotiation can prevent that, so be it."

The case will claim that by providing links to sites hosting copyright infringing music downloads, Yahoo! China is acting illegally. IFPI has already taken similar action against ISP Baidu.

"Yahoo! China is an MP3 link site which is infringing IFPI member companies' rights on a large scale by making available copyrighted songs for download from its service without any permission from the record companies," an IFPI statement said.

"In April 2006 IFPI wrote to Yahoo! China on behalf of its member record companies, asking it to take the necessary steps to stop the infringement of IFPI members' rights. To date IFPI has received no acceptable response. IFPI is taking the preliminary steps required by Chinese law for filing a lawsuit."

Yahoo! told OUT-LAW that Yahoo! China is operated and managed by Alibaba.com. No one at Alibaba was available for comment before going to press.

Speaking at the China International Forum on the Audio Visual Industry in Shanghai in June, IFPI's Kennedy said that 90 per cent of recordings in China infringe copyright, and that the illegal music market there is worth £216m.

At that event he seemed to signpost this week's action. "I have been very disappointed in recent months to see some well-known brand names among the internet companies blatantly infringing our members' rights. Baidu has already been found guilty of copyright infringement in the Chinese courts; China-Yahoo! is now in a similar position, choosing to turn a blind eye to the infringements taking place on its service instead of setting the example of responsible practice which we would expect from them."

"We are watching China Yahoo! closely and will have no hesitation in acting to protect our members' rights if we should have to," he said.

Kennedy told Bloomberg News that he was not sure what damages the IFPI would look for in the courts, but that if the case were in the US they "would certainly run into tens of millions and perhaps even more than that".

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.