China’s National Copyright Administration (NCA) is investigating Baidu for copyright infringement of books, said Wang Chih-cheng, deputy director for Copyright Management of NCA.

On March 15, fifty of Chinese well-known authors wrote a public letter, claiming Baidu Wenku (or Baidu Libary), one of Baidu’s services which allows users to read free e-book online, infringes their copyrights.  The letter is widely circulated in Sina Weibo (or Twitter in China).

They said, just like Baidu’s free MP3 download hurt the music industry, Baidu library is also killing the future of Chinese book authors.   In the long run, there will be no new books to read.

Here is an article about it in the local news:

If history can offer any guide, Baidu’s investors need not worry.  Because in music companies’ lawsuits against Baidu, which have lasted many years, Baidu was found not guilty by the Chinese government.

If fact, I heard the music companies had finally come to terms with Baidu, granting them copyrights, in exchange for sharing advertising revenue in Baidu’s free MP3 download service.

But anyway, it is great to hear someone inside China is rising the issue of copyright protection.  If there are more copyrights belong to Chinese citizen or Chinese companies, I believe the government will have a real incentive to enforce copyright protection.  And they should, if Chinese government want the country to be more innovative and more technically advance in the future.

Author of Red Wired: China's Internet Revolution, the first book to completely survey the nature of China's internet. ( She previously was the lead China technology reporter...

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