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'Chinese Pirate Bay' taken down after appearance on US blacklist

Gougou goes way of dodo

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One of China’s most prolific search engines for pirated content, Gougou, has closed down as the country continues to clean up its act when it comes to intellectual property rights.

A search for Gougou.com reveals the following brief message in Chinese and English:

Gougou.com has been closed down. Thank you all for your support, and we are sorry for any inconvenience.

It remains to be seen whether it was taken down by the authorities or at owner Xunlei’s behest, although TechInAsia reports that the Chinese online firm was forced in 2011 to cancel its plans for a US IPO because of heavy links to pirated content on Gougou and P2P site Xunlei.

It can’t have helped that both appeared on the latest US government blacklist of Notorious Markets issued last month (PDF).

That report claimed that Gougou.com “continues to actively provide users with deep links to infringing music files and torrent links from unauthorised sources”.

Chinese search site Sogou and e-commerce giant Taobao were removed from that influential list this year after striking deals with rights holders – most notably Taobao’s MoU with the Motion Picture Association – which may have made up Xunlei’s mind in the end.

The closure follows that of Yahoo! China’s Music site announced last month as part of an “adjustment in product strategy”. The site, currently run by Taobao parent company Alibaba, was also known for linking to pirated content.

After much pressure, local search giant Baidu eventually went legit in 2011 and signed a deal with music mega-corps Sony, Universal and Warner which put paid to its deep linking to pirated content. ®

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