BEIJING Nov 13 A group of Chinese Internet
firms, including Tencent Holdings and Sohu.Com Inc
, has joined a top U.S. film industry body in seeking
300 million yuan ($49.2 million) in damages from China's Baidu
Inc and QVOD for copyright violation.
The Joint Action Against Online Video Piracy in China, which
also includes Youku Tudou Inc, Dalian Wanda Group and
the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), said in a
statement that Baidu and others had been using an automated
process to obtain content from the other companies.
Baidu, the largest Internet search engine in China, said in
a statement it was committed to fighting piracy.
A spokeswoman for Shenzhen-based software company QVOD said:
"We are just a video player, we don't provide content." She
declined to elaborate on the piracy allegations.
QVOD's mobile and desktop video player links to the web and
allows users to stream videos.
China has long been known for its weak intellectual property
protection and enforcement, leading to numerous disputes with
the United States.
If successful, the case could hurt Baidu's business in the
online video market, which was worth 3.25 billion yuan in
advertising in the third quarter and is estimated to create 16.2
billion yuan in sales next year.
Baidu shelled out $370 million to acquire PPStream in May,
to merge with its own iQiyi.com video site, and in September
announced the launch of a line of Smart TV products.
"We can't continue to compete in the situation because
law-abiding people can't survive in a place where robbers and
thieves rampage," Charles Zhang, chief executive of
Beijing-based Sohu.Com, told a news conference on Wednesday.
Zhang said that efforts to negotiate with Baidu had been
unsuccessful, and Baidu refused to stop violating copyright
until QVOD also agreed to stop pirating videos.
Baidu said in a statement it has "always attached a great
deal of importance to the issue of copyright protection in the
video industry" and that piracy is a shared problem for the
domestic video industry which it would continuously strengthen
its efforts to fight.
"We hope to collaborate with industry partners and, through
technological innovation and close collaboration, together
promote the development the legalisation of the video industry,"