Zhongsou found guilty of copyright infringement
Beijing, 21st May 2008
Zhongsou, one of China's top five internet search engines, has been found guilty of infringing record companies' copyrights by the Copyright Bureau of Hebei province and Cangzhou city. The authorities have ordered the internet company to stop infringing immediately and pay the maximum penalty of RMB 100,000. Three computer servers belonging to Zhongsou have also been forfeited.
This is the first time that administrative penalties have been levied on a company running a music delivery service. Zhongsou provides a similar infringing music delivery service to those offered by Yahoo China and Baidu and this type of service has already been ruled to infringe copyright by Chinese civil courts in December 2007.
In September 2007, IFPI lodged a complaint with the Hebei Provincial Copyright Bureau. Further investigations by Cangzhou Copyright Bureau, Cangzhou Cultural Task Force and RenQiu Cultural Task Force revealed that copyright infringing files accessed by the delivery service were hosted on servers owned by Zhongsou in Cangzhou city in Hebei province. With the assistance of the ISP Cangzhou Netcom, the authorities raided and seized the servers on 11th March 2008.
The administrative fine of RMB 100,000 imposed on Zhongsou in May 2008 is the largest fine for copyright infringement in the history of Hebei province.
Leong Mayseey, Regional Director of IFPI Asia, says: "We are pleased with the maximum fine imposed by the administrative authorities against Zhongsou's blatant and deliberate infringement of our members' copyright. This should send a signal to other similar infringing music services.
"China has the potential to be one of the most dynamic digital music markets in the world, but legal services cannot compete when household names like Zhongsou deliberately break the law, abuse the rights of others and seek to drive advertising revenue by providing illegal content. We cannot tolerate such abuse of our members' rights and other internet companies that are breaking the law should be warned that we are coming after them next."For further information contact:
Alex Jacob, IFPI London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7878 7935 (Press Office)