Baidu Faces The Music
Everybody has turned on Baidu. As recently as August (that’s last month if you’re not keeping score), this company was the “Chinese Google,” an IPO blockbuster. A few weeks later, stock prices plummet and as of this morning, Baidu is being sued by pretty much the entire music industry. Damned if you Baidu, damned if you Baidon’t.
As reported in Hong Kong’s Standard newspaper, EMI, Sony BMG, Universal, and Warner have put together a hard-hitting Michael Strahan type legal blitz against Baidu, alleging copyright infringement. Cinepoly, Go East, and Gold Label are also joining the action.
The music companies say that Baidu has provided a search platform that simplifies illegal downloading in an area of the world where piracy rates are extraordinarily high.
Baidu disagrees with the premise of the lawsuit, saying they only provide a search service, not a download service. Nevertheless, the company says it is cooperating with its accusers and indicated that a more agreeable music download platform may be forthcoming.
The music industry is seeking compensation plus the suspension of suspension of services that allow illegal downloads.
Baidu’s legal troubles will only add to the recent deflation of stock. Bloomberg reported Wednesday that shares of Baidu.com Inc. plunged 24% after analysts said the company’s IPO was overpriced.