updated 08:30 am EDT, Mon April 25, 2011
China to hit Baidu and 13 others for pirated music
The Chinese Ministry of Culture on Monday planned to 'punish' Baidu and 13 other websites for offering illegal copies of music. The group had allegedly ignored or failed to properly curb bootleg song downloads. Baidu said it had obeyed previous warnings and would react accordingly to any new requests.
Ministry officials hadn't said what the punishments would involve, though fines and partial or complete site blocks are possible.
The China tech leader works primarily as a search engine but pays artists for music downloads from search hits. It has tried to keep the results to legal files but has had to fight against a market well-known for pirated content. Baidu had been acquitted of copyright violation charges in January 2010.
In the US, Google has faced concerns from music labels but has usually avoided legal trouble. It briefly tried direct previews and links to legal songs at the top of results but eventually shifted away from the philosophy.