Baidu urged to overhaul online library, compensate authors

Baidu urged to overhaul online library, compensate authors

According to China Daily, China’s copyright authorities are urging Baidu to come up with a plan to properly overhaul its online literary database as the long-standing copyright dispute between the company and about 40 Chinese writers continues.

Yan Xiaohong, vice-director of the National Copyright Administration and deputy head of the General Administration of Press and Publication, said at a press conference:

“Baidu’s free literary database is not a good business model because lots of works within that database have not been authorized by writers.”

Despite the company’s efforts to implement a new anti-piracy technology for online books and documents, it is already being urged by the authorities to overhaul its database by removing all unauthorized literary works from its database and establishing a revenue-sharing model that will ensure copyright owners receive a share of the proceeds from their work.

The very nature of Baidu’s free user-generated library, combined with its massive user base makes it difficult for anyone (including Baidu itself) to monitor the collection for copyright infringement. Qian Jun, a lawyer who specializes in Internet copyright infringement cases, notes that Baidu should be liable because it would be eternally difficult for the authors themselves to go after individuals who pirate their work.

The dispute between Baidu and the writers has indeed set an example that highlights the rising public awareness of intellectual property rights in China. A good sign for the creative minds living a country that is notorious for copyright infringing goods.

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