A cloud storage platform operated by technology giant Baidu has become the first service of its type to be found liable for copyright infringement in China. A Beijing court found that the rights to distribute the popular TV series ‘Eternal Love’ on the Internet were held by online video service Youku Tudou and Baidu didn’t do enough in response to copyright complaints.
China’s government is regularly accused of not doing enough to prevent piracy but court records show that there are many copyright cases under consideration.
A particularly interesting case that has now reached its conclusion featured Youku Tudou Inc., one of the country’s top online video platforms and Baidu Wangpan (Baidu Web Drive), a cloud-storage service operated by technology giant Baidu.
Filed by Youku, the lawsuit claimed that despite the company holding the rights to distribute the popular TV series ‘Eternal Love‘ online in China, copies of the show were being made available to the public after being uploaded to storage accounts on Baidu Wangpan. Youku says it sent numerous complaints to have the content removed but according to the company, the response was insufficient.
While Baidu did take some action, Youku was still able to find more than 11,000 Baidu Wangpan accounts offering episodes of the TV series for viewing without permission from the license holder, Caixin Global reports (paywall).
The lawsuit accused Baidu of not taking down infringing links quickly enough, failing to take action against the accounts of repeat infringers, and not installing technology to prevent the uploading, storage, and sharing of copyrighted material.
Baidu countered by stating that its users had uploaded the TV shows and as a result, the company should not be held liable for their actions. It further said that it had responded to Youku’s complaints and that Youku’s demand for 29 million yuan (US$4.14 million) in compensation was excessive.
Local reports cite the judge in the case weighing whether the response of Baidu was sufficient, noting that more than 60% of infringing links were indeed removed but other content remained online.
The balance was ultimately decided in favor of Youku, with the Beijing court ordering Baidu to compensate Youku to the tune of one million yuan (US$143,000) and 30,000 yuan ($4,300) in expenses.
Both parties have appealed the ruling.
Many thanks to TorrentFreak for the breaking news.