Chinese online streaming company Sohu TV filed a suit on Monday (October 8) against Baidu and Jinri Toutiao for storing and spreading a massive number of pirated episodes and clips of a popular online romantic fantasy drama series called 我在大理寺当宠物 (“I’m a Pet at Dali Temple” in English).
The Chinese streaming platform is requiring a total of RMB 10 million in compensation for its economic loss and demanding Baidu and Jinri Toutiao to remove and prohibit further sharing of the pirated content.
The Intermediate People’s Court of Nanjing has accepted the case, according to TechWeb (in Chinese).
The online series, which debuted on September 25, was jointly produced by Sohu TV and Shanghai Shencheng Pictures. Sohu TV has the exclusive right to distribute the show
Sohu TV alleged that Beijing Baidu Network Technology Co., Ltd., the operator of cloud service Baidu Wangpan (百度网盘), knowingly allowed users to upload, store, share, and download pirated content without its authorization. Jinri Toutiao, on the other hand, is accused of allowing clips of the popular Chinese drama to be streamed on the platforms that it operates.
In China, third-party search engines are a way to access files stored in cloud storage services. Many of these cloud storage resources, including Baidu Wangpan, ended up becoming a source of pirated TV shows and movies and illegal content.
China has long-battled with the spread of illegal, vulgar, and pirated content, and Jinri Toutiao is infamously known for disseminating questionable content on its platforms. In April, the news aggregator was forcibly removed from Chines app stores as part of the government-led crackdown campaign against the spread of low-quality and pirated content.