Netco affil taken to court over copyright infringement
BEIJING — A long-running row between the Intl. Federation of the Phonographic Industry and Yahoo! China over copyright infringement is going to court in Beijing after the IFPI said it would sue Yahoo! China for providing links to unlicensed music.Org, which represents 1,400 companies in more than 70 countries, has filed a suit in Beijing No 2 Intermediate People’s Court against Alibaba, operator of the Yahoo! China website, which provides online music downloading services. In total, 11 plaintiffs including Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group Corp, are claiming 5.5 million yuan (US$687,500) in damages, the Xinhua news agency reported. They claim that Yahoo! China provided lyrics, mobile phone ring tones based on the songs and enticed users to download or listen to them online. Yahoo! China is a partnership between Internet giant Yahoo!, which owns 40%, and Beijing-based Alibaba.com. Yahoo! China was reportedly allowing online users to freely listen to the songs and download 229 Chinese and English songs, whose copyrights belong to the 11 companies, from April 10, 2006. The case has been widely flagged. The IFPI said last July that it was preparing legal action and had written to Yahoo! China in April asking it to stop the infringement of IFPI members’ rights, but had received no response. Org said it had hoped to resolve the issue by negotiation. The IFPI, which aims to combat piracy and promote copyright laws, represents the world’s music companies and estimates that about 85 percent of all music consumed in China is pirated.