IP and Law

Baidu in the music business?

A major reason for search engine Baidu's popularity is its efficient MP3 search function, which allows Chinese music fans to easily find downloadable files of popular music. Of course most of this music is pirated, but Baidu's responsibilities is not clear, because the files are merely located, not hosted by Baidu.

The risk of a new law, or a lawsuit that goes after Baidu's MP3 search service for intellectual property infringement is sometimes cited as a danger for the search engine that is said to have the greatest number of users in China.

However, the risk also carries with it an opportunity. Reuters reports:

China's Baidu sets up online music partnership

Chinese Web search leader Baidu.com Inc. has set up a partnership with popular Chinese-language record label Rock Music Group to provide an online music streaming service.

Rock Music will license part of its music repertoire to Baidu users for free, and both companies will share revenue from Internet advertising, they said in a statement dated July 4.

If Apple could adapt faster than the record companies to the realities of the Internet and thus take the music industry by storm, why not Baidu?

China's record companies are in dire straits: they struggle to sell even sell legitimate copies of CDs, let alone MP3s. Baidu should easily be able to sign up several record companies to make their catalogues available online.

Baidu also has the connections and home grown China credentials to work out a partnership with China Mobile that would enable mobile downloads and an efficient billing system.

Baidu and the Chinese music business: it could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

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There are currently 4 Comments for Baidu in the music business?.

Comments on Baidu in the music business?

"A major reason for search engine Baidu's popularity is its efficient MP3 search function, which allows Chinese music fans to easily find downloadable files of popular music."

Love the word "EFFICIENT" in this context Mr. Goldkorn.

Efficient = ability to steal sh*t very easily

Hey, I'm all for it. As long as the musicians get paid. IMHO the musicians should get most of their revenue from live shows. Recording should be promotions. The current prices for recordings are way jacked up.

I think this model can work in China. Like you mentioned, revenues from recording in China are low.

That's exactly how this industry is running in China. But honestly, I don't feel this is fair to Chinese musicians.

One interesting phenomenon about this kind of intellectual property pirate cases in China is, it always leads to some form of partnership. I remember few years ago, ETS was suing Beijing New Oriental School(Xin Dong Fang) for millions of dollars( I'm not sure about the amount, but in my memory that was a staggering number) for the latter used the former's testing materials for its TOEFL/GMAT/GRE courses without permission. The lawsuit was settled down by some form of partnership between ETS and New Oriental School.

Back to the topic of letting users pay for mp3s, I think it 'll take a long while for users to adopt this concept in their mind.

Whatever If Chinese people do not download music from Baidu - they will download it from another Chinese website - Even if some begins to understand "copyright" concepts, historical events recall them to always reproduce, make copies ; Need time to change -

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