Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Protecting the infringers

Is this exactly what China needs now? The People's Daily reports that "China's first regulation on on-line copyright...will protect search engine operators from copyright infringement accusations". The article goes on to quote Wang Bin, secretary general of on-line copyright alliance of Internet Society of China saying, "Search engines providing links can be exempted from copyright infringement of the content under the regulation".

Now perhaps I'm missing an important twist here, but I was under the impression that copyright infringers didn't need any encouragement in China. They seem to manage pretty well all by themselves. The legitimate owners of copyright, however, need all the help they can get. I recommend to my publishing clients that they have to organise themselves on the assumption that their IP will be stolen.

The new law "...means search engines would not be directly responsible for pirated products they provide links to," according to Wang Bin. I think I'll set up a new trucking company - Golden Triangle Shippers. Nothing to do with me what those nice boys from the poppy fields are putting on my trucks.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Chinese search world, in a move which we would stress is nothing to do with copyright abuse, Google has announced the launch of book search in China in association with four of the the country's leading publishers including Tsinghua University Press. Arch rival Baidu has focused on university libraries including that at and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, according to the People's Daily article.

Update: As I browse further today, I was amused to see John Battelle point to a piece titled "Record industry to sue Yahoo China over pirated tunes". Ah, bad news guys. Somebody had better the International Federation of the Phonographic Industries a subscription to the People's Daily!

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