SHANGHAI, March 24 Baidu Inc , China's
largest search engine, said on Thursday it would introduce
anti-piracy technology for its document and books product in
May, countering criticism that the firm has been lax in dealing
with copyright-infringing material.
Baidu, which has about 70 percent of China's search market
by revenue, was criticised last week by authors who demanded
that the firm remove numerous copyright-infringing books and
documents found on its Baidu Library product.
Baidu said the technology took more than four months of
research and would enter a testing phase in April before a full
release on May 1st.
"The technology will not only enable Baidu Library to
systematically eliminate copyright-infringing content already
uploaded on its platform, but will also enable automatic
rejection of future problematic uploads," Baidu's spokesman
Kaiser Kuo said in a statement to Reuters.
The move bodes well for Baidu as the company has faced
lawsuits and intense criticism over its handling of copyrighted
material over the past few years.
Last month, the United States Trade Representative office
spotlighted Baidu as a notorious market for piracy because of
the "deep linking" ability of its MP3 music search, which
enables users to search for and download copyright-infringing
In January last year, a Beijing court cleared Baidu of
copyright suits and said the search engine did not break any
Chinese authorities are also keeping a keen eye on Baidu.
Local media reported recently that the deputy chief of the
Department of Copyright Administration requested Baidu submit a
plan to eliminate copyright infringing material on its websites.
Baidu submitted the plan this month, Kuo said.
Baidu is also in talks with record labels over its MP3
search service and the approach taken to combat piracy on that
front will be different from that taken for Baidu Library.
"With music, we're not taking an identical approach, but we
continue to press forward in our talks with the labels and hope
to be able to achieve a breakthrough that will be good for
everyone in the music industry value chain," Kuo said.
(Reporting by Melanie Lee; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)