Chinese Groups, MPAA Declare Joint Action Against Online Piracy; Lawsuits Filed

Youku Tudou, Sohu Video, Tencent Video, LeTV, the MPAA, Wanda Films, Enlight Media and Huayi Brothers are among the partners in the Joint Action Against Online Video Piracy in China. The aim of the effort is to fight online video infringement on PCs and mobile devices in the massive country where illegal access to content is rampant. “Since 2009, the video industry is facing a more severe anti-piracy situation,” Sohu CEO Charles Zhang said at a media event in Beijing today. “Especially when those big Internet companies with resource advantages participate in large-scale piracy. We cannot keep competing because where thieves and robbers are having their way, law-abiding companies cannot survive.” Reps from Sony, Warner Bros, Disney and Paramount also attended the media event. It was further announced there that some Chinese Internet companies have filed lawsuits against search engine Baidu and software company QVOD for what they say are copyright violations, and are seeking $49.2M in damages.

The companies said today that Baidu, China’s answer to Google, “is distributing content without authorization while engaging in activities that are beyond the scope of a search engine.” Users are “able to access content hosted on third party sites” and Baidu is “providing access to rogue video sites that host pirated content and do not have official licensing to operate in China.” MPA China president Wei Feng said, “A large number of Chinese and foreign films and television productions are distributed on rogue video sites that are easily built using light content management systems. We must increase efforts to stop companies from infringing copyrighted material and to pay for the damages for the loss of copyright.” Baidu said today that it has “always attached a great deal of importance to the issue of copyright protection in the video industry” and that it will continuously strengthen its efforts to fight piracy.

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