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March 31, 2011

Baidu removes 2.8 million pirated works to keep its promise to authors

Remaining 1000 works are properly licensed, says the company

By CBR Staff Writer

China’s search engine Baidu has removed 2.8 million works from the Literary Works section of the site following complaints by authors that it was distributing their work without permission.

On March 15, a group of Chinese authors had complained in an online petition that Baidu had "deteriorated into a burglar company that stole our property and stole out rights."

Last week, the company had apologised to Chinese authors and said it would remove unauthorised work.

After removing the 2.8 million items, Baidu now has about 1,000 works it believes are properly licensed.

A company spokesman Kaiser Kuo told the BBC, "By Tuesday afternoon we had removed almost 2.8 million files, mainly from the Literary Works section of the site, which was the primary concern of the writers and publishers."

Kuo added the company believes it could reach an arrangement on the matter after discussions with authors to distribute their work and share the revenues.

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"Now that we’ve scrubbed the site, we hope our good faith action will be a good, solid foundation for future co-operation," Kuo said.

"One thing that this whole episode has amply demonstrated is that Baidu Library is very powerful distribution platform that can be put to very good and profitable use by the authors and publishers in cooperation with Baidu, to the benefit of all parties, especially the readers."

Earlier this month, the US Trade Representative’s office cited Baidu in a list of 33 websites or public markets in China, Russia, India and other countries that it deemed "notorious markets" linked to sales of pirated or fake goods.

Last week, Baidu said that it will introduce anti-piracy technology for its document and books product in May this year.

Baidu currently has a market share of about 70% of China’s search market.

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