Baidu Wenku, Baidu’s answer to Google Books and who is notorious for offering pirated e-books or copyright materials for free, launched an e-publishing platform yesterday. It is meant to solve the copyright problem once and forever by having copyright-holding agencies or individuals to publish e-books or any other form of writing on the platform.
Any individual or organization is allowed to apply. Payments are supported by online banking services. Baidu promises not to interfere in pricing and not to take a revenue cut in three years.
Some online content providers and individual authors have got on board, its official site shows. More traditional publishing houses will join in. Baidu claims there have been three million pieces of copyrighted works on the platform.
In the past years Baidu Wenku was sued for copyright infringement by Chinese publishing organizations or writers from time to time. Cloudary, the online original literature platform, sued it in 2010, asserting pirated books downloaded through Baidu Wenku caused Cloudary a revenue loss of more than one billion yuan. Other publishers and even the industry association joined in Cloudary to called for shutdown of it. Baidu, failing in getting away with it by citing DMCA safe harbor provisions, offered to share advertising revenues from Wenku with those angry parties, but the latter were unsatisfied with the proposal.
In 2011 Baidu Wenku removed all the pirated books by dozens of Chinese writers after being sued by them. The company lost the latest case to Hanhan, one of the most famous young writers in nowadays China, in late 2012.