Baidu deletes nearly 3 mn works in copyright flap

March 30, 2011
A woman passes in front of the Baidu logo in Beijing. The Chinese search engine giant has deleted nearly three million works from its online library in a three-day blitz aimed at ending a copyright dispute with writers.

Chinese search engine giant Baidu said Wednesday it had deleted nearly three million works from its online library in a three-day blitz aimed at ending a copyright dispute with writers.

Company spokesman Kaiser Kuo told AFP the firm had deleted "nearly 2.8 million potentially infringing items in total in the literary section."

A check by AFP showed there were just under 1,000 works left in the section on Wednesday.

"It took us three solid days working round-the-clock. I'm told that what remains is all licenced, and that any additional uploads to that section are being carefully vetted," Kuo said.

The row erupted when more than 40 authors, including top-selling writer Han Han, signed a letter blasting the Chinese firm for providing their works as free downloads from its online library Wenku without their permission.

Negotiations between the Internet giant and authors reportedly broke down last week, but Baidu then apologised at the weekend, promising to delete unlicensed items within the next few days.

Baidu Wenku was launched in 2009 and allows users to read, share or download texts for free.

All documents are uploaded by Internet users and as of November, Baidu Wenku had stockpiled more than 10 million texts and books, according to the company's figures.

The firm had previously required that authors or holders report problematic content found on Baidu Wenku to a complaints centre, after which the infringing item would be deleted within 48 hours.

In a disclaimer on its website, Baidu said users who uploaded the files must be responsible for compensation in any copyright disputes. But the writers had insisted the firm should bear responsibility.

Zhang Hongbo, deputy general-director of the government-linked China Written Works Copyright Society, was not immediately available for comment on Baidu's latest move when contacted by AFP.

The society accused -- Baidu's main rival in the China market -- of similar copyright infringements in 2009 for scanning Chinese books into its .

But that row appears to have been left in limbo after Google reduced its presence in China last year over a censorship dispute with the government.

Kuo said Baidu now wanted to explore ways to work with authors and publishers.

"If this whole episode has shown anything, it's that Baidu Wenku is a very powerful distribution platform, and we can all be profiting from it," he said.

Explore further: Chinese paper accuses Google of hampering searches

Related Stories

Chinese paper accuses Google of hampering searches

October 27, 2009

(AP) -- Google Inc. faces a new controversy in China after a Web site run by the Communist Party's main newspaper accused the U.S. search giant of trying to keep Internet users away following its reports on a copyright dispute.

China's Baidu search engine launches English blog

January 11, 2011

Chinese search engine giant Baidu has launched an English-language blog on the country's online culture, a company spokesman said Tuesday, as the firm looks to expand into overseas markets.

Baidu edges ahead in Chinese online market

January 19, 2011

Search engine Baidu further strengthened its dominance of the Chinese Internet market in the fourth quarter at the expense of US rival Google, a research firm said Wednesday.

Chinese writers accuse Baidu of stealing

March 16, 2011

Dozens of popular Chinese writers have accused search engine giant Baidu of infringing their copyright and branded it a "thief" in the latest claims of piracy against the company.

Talks between Baidu and Chinese writers collapse

March 25, 2011

Negotiations to resolve a copyright dispute between search engine giant Baidu and Chinese writers have broken down with the company now facing potential court action, state media reported Friday.

Baidu apologises to writers in copyright dispute

March 26, 2011

Chinese search engine giant Baidu apologised on Saturday to writers who accused it of violating their copyright and promised to delete infringing items within the next three days.

Recommended for you

Microsoft describes hard-to-mimic authentication gesture

August 1, 2015

Photos. Messages. Bank account codes. And so much more—sit on a person's mobile device, and the question is, how to secure them without having to depend on lengthy password codes of letters and numbers. Vendors promoting ...

Power grid forecasting tool reduces costly errors

July 30, 2015

Accurately forecasting future electricity needs is tricky, with sudden weather changes and other variables impacting projections minute by minute. Errors can have grave repercussions, from blackouts to high market costs. ...

Netherlands bank customers can get vocal on payments

August 1, 2015

Are some people fed up with remembering and using passwords and PINs to make it though the day? Those who have had enough would prefer to do without them. For mobile tasks that involve banking, though, it is obvious that ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.