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Yahoo! Slammed Over Piracy By Chinese Court 102

Posted by Zonk
from the dangerous-precedent dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Setting a precedent likely to have far-ranging consequences, a Chinese court has once again lambasted Yahoo! China over piracy concerns. The search firm is (according to the court) infringing on intellectual property rights by allowing copyrighted materials to be downloaded from the internet via search results. 'John Kennedy, chairman and CEO of the International Federation of Phonographic Industries, or IFPI, said in a statement Thursday. "By confirming that Yahoo China's service violates copyright under new Chinese laws, the Beijing court has effectively set the standard for Internet companies throughout the country."'"
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Yahoo! Slammed Over Piracy By Chinese Court

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  • OH NOZ! (Score:1, Funny)

    by ILuvRamen (1026668)
    an ISP is letting people access the internet? HOW DARE THEY?!
    • by calebt3 (1098475)
      Is Yahoo an ISP or just a search provider in China? Or is AT&T called Yahoo over there?
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by KDR_11k (778916)
        Dunno but from what I've seen Yahoo China has a "warez search" option.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sparks23 (412116) *
        While here in the states Yahoo just sells rebranded AT&T broadband, in Asia, Yahoo is a major broadband provider.

        I don't know about China specifically, but they're one of the faster, more reliable broadband services in Japan, and offer something not unlike Verizon FiOS. Including a broadband television service.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by dwater (72834)
          Why is this marked '+5 insightful' when the post specifically says "I don't know about China specifically"...which makes the post irrelevant. The post is at best 'interesting'.

          FWIW, I've lived in China for several years and haven't heard of any internet access service provided by Yahoo!. All broadband access I've heard of is provided by CNC, if not directly then by a reseller of some kind.
    • Re:OH NOZ! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by purpledinoz (573045) on Friday December 21, 2007 @01:51PM (#21782432)
      Talk about calling the kettle black. China is probably the largest source of piracy. They really should handle the problem of people selling pirate CDs and DVDs before going after Yahoo for indexing some warez site.
      • by solitas (916005)
        I got a laugh out of the irony too. I regularly analyze china-counterfeits of my employer's products - they're found evenly distributed throughout the country and our other international markets.
      • by Korveck (1145695)
        It is not only CD and DVD. Many Chinese companies are known to copy popular brands of goods, with names and appearance slightly modified, but far inferior performance and quality. A search engine is probably least of the concerns when it comes to piracy. This ruling will not improve the slightest bit of China's piracy problems.
        • Re:OH NOZ! (Score:4, Interesting)

          by dwater (72834) on Friday December 21, 2007 @08:43PM (#21787076)

          It is not only CD and DVD. Many Chinese companies are known to copy popular brands of goods, with names and appearance slightly modified, but far inferior performance and quality. A search engine is probably least of the concerns when it comes to piracy. This ruling will not improve the slightest bit of China's piracy problems.
          Indeed. The interesting thing about what you say is that the non-CD/DVD things are not sold to Chinese people (much) - the Chinese people I know, know full well the quality is crap and avoid places like that like the plague. DVDs are different, since they're good enough, and the real ones are too expensive (and difficult to find).

          No, the clothing in particular is sold only as a tourist attraction. I'd say that the names and appearance aren't even slightly modified either - they're exactly the same, except that they don't last too long (perhaps they're 'seconds' or have failed quality control).
      • Re:OH NOZ! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by daninbusiness (815223) on Friday December 21, 2007 @04:56PM (#21785052)
        It's also telling/glaring that Baidu.com is not being held to the same standards. That site even has a specialized mp3 search on it - http://mp3.baidu.com/ [baidu.com].


        Large governments do tend to engage in nationalistic hypocracy, however, so I guess this shouldn't be terribly surprising.

        • by dwater (72834)

          It's also telling/glaring that Baidu.com is not being held to the same standards. That site even has a specialized mp3 search on it - http://mp3.baidu.com/ [baidu.com].

          Large governments do tend to engage in nationalistic hypocracy, however, so I guess this shouldn't be terribly surprising.

          Well, baidu is pretty much only used by Chinese people (though I don't see any English option on Yahoo!, but it's at least a more obvious target for westerns), so why would westerner companies care about that? I mean, Chinese people can't tend to afford western prices, so sales lost are probably small. In fact, piracy may be a good thing for the future of a product, in the same way it has been for MS Windows - it's pervasive here because it's free (almost). If MS Windows was it's real price, Linux would be

      • Well, there is a different way of looking at it. It wasn't really China going after Yahoo! China, it was the IFPI (like the RIAA but an international organization) who filed a lawsuit, and the Chinese courts found in favor of the IFPI.

        The article also mentions that the controlling stake of Yahoo! China is actually a Chinese company. So I don't really think that "pot calling the kettle black" is an appropriate analogy here. What did happen is an international organization took a Chinese company to task f

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by dwater (72834)

        Talk about calling the kettle black. China is probably the largest source of piracy. They really should handle the problem of people selling pirate CDs and DVDs before going after Yahoo for indexing some warez site.

        They are going after people selling CDs and DVDs. I've seen numerous DVD stores shutdown in the past year. To start with, the stores were forced to sell them under the counter or out of a back room, but now the stores are *gone*. Admittedly, these stores were near a Holiday Inn, so they're focusing on the more obvious (to westerners, at least) ones, but still.

        I know of just one store now, and that is far from any hotels in the middle of an area populated mostly by Koreans. Furthermore, I've recently seen s

  • IS this pay back for the US GOV trying to stand up and block them from giving user info to the Chinese over then data.

    I hope yahoo! does not send more people to Political Prisons.
    • no, this is less evil than that. The Chinese internet "security" market colluded with the copyright lobby to get this new law passed as it will require MORE spending on the "great firewall of china". Next article will be the Chinese court requiring Yahoo to pony up huge amounts for software and hardware to "protect copyrights".

      These are US companies doing the lobbying... China is the prototype for what the US "security"/"morality" market wants the US govt to pass into law.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LaughingCoder (914424)
        Sure. Clamping down on internet access by their citizens (while forcing companies like Yahoo! to pay for it and take some of the blame) is not at all what the Chinese government wants. If you believe that, I have a firewall I'd like to sell you cheap that blocks all objectionable content (and you get to define objectionable).
        • they want total information control. Their news and only their news... all the time. Cracking down under the name of "copyright" makes it less "negative" to the western cultures... gotta be lawful and all. It also has lots of American companies willing to jump right in and build better filters in hopes they can sell them in the USA too.

          What they want is people "watching the watchers" and reporting to them if the watchers "miss" anything... Total control. The idea of personal freedom as absolute is a un
  • No surprises (Score:5, Interesting)

    by superbus1929 (1069292) on Friday December 21, 2007 @12:57PM (#21781492) Homepage
    Yahoo earned this. They bent over backwards to do business with China, and now they're paying the karmic price. Personally, after what they did to those journalists and bloggers, I love it.
    • The Chinese government selected Yahoo! from a wide number of global dot-com companies cooperating with the Chinese government in not-so-appealing ways. It's impossible to know the details of why Yahoo! was called out.

      I'm not selectively bashing the Chinese because it's only slightly different in the U.S. Look at how the Telco's gave the NSA what they wanted with no questions asked.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by blueskies (525815)

        I'm not selectively bashing the Chinese because it's only slightly different in the U.S. Look at how the Telco's gave the NSA what they wanted with no questions asked.

        What universe to you live in? Since when has the NSA arrested anyone because they are critical on a blog, towards the US?

        How is it a slight difference? Next you'll be saying the US is only slightly different than Iraq was under Saddam, because we have death by lethal injection and they dropped chemical weapons on Kurds.

        • That any of this behavior morally questionable is an endless flamefest. It's an observation that this kind of thing happens everywhere regardless of the legal/social structure.

          Yahoo and probably lots of other companies are obligated to do as the Chinese authorities say if they wish to stay involved in the Chinese economy. In the U.S. AT&T ignored the obvious legal issues and gave the NSA exactly what they wanted, warrantless domestic survielance. Look what probably happened to qwest when they didn't
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by jamie(really) (678877)

          Since when has the NSA arrested anyone because they are critical on a blog, towards the US?

          Er, actually this is happening. Except that say that its because the journalist's source is a terrorist and the journalist must reveal the source. Some have been held without trial indefinitely.

          Next you'll be saying the US is only slightly different than Iraq was under Saddam, because we have death by lethal injection and they dropped chemical weapons on Kurds.

          There have been 130,000 deaths in Iraq since the US inva

  • Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by snarfies (115214) on Friday December 21, 2007 @12:57PM (#21781498) Homepage
    Hm, gee, I wonder if this same impossible standard will be applied to non-foreign companies in China.

    My guess is "no."
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by iknownuttin (1099999)
      Hm, gee, I wonder if this same impossible standard will be applied to non-foreign companies in China.

      My guess is "no."

      Yeah, especially when you consider that much of the Chinese economy is based on pirated stuff.

    • by calebt3 (1098475)
      Considering that non-foreign companies are owned by the government, I don't think China will spend limit itself in this way when it may seriously cut into profits.
    • In the same article (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hackingbear (988354)

      Separately, the court also upheld a ruling on a similar case against Internet company Baidu. A lower court in November 2006 had found that Baidu had facilitated copyright infringement. But because this case was filed under older Chinese copyright laws in 2005, the company was not liable for copyright infringement, the IFPI said.

      "We are disappointed that the court did not find Baidu liable," Kennedy said in a statement. "But that judgment was about Baidu's actions in the past, under an old law that is no longer in force. Baidu should now prepare to have its actions judged under the new law. We are confident a court would hold Baidu liable as it has Yahoo China."

      So maybe Baidu has fixed their acts?

      Oh... wait... is Baidu.com a Chinese company? That's hard to say because the fact is most successful Chinese Internet companies, including alibaba.com, which was funded by Softbank and Yahoo and which now owns Yahoo China, are funded and run by western VCs. But then that would answer your concern. Who cares the thousands of little real Chinese websites like the pirate DVD sellers across streets in China.

  • Piracy != Privacy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by \\ (118555) on Friday December 21, 2007 @12:59PM (#21781532) Homepage
    Man, I thought that headline was "Yahoo! Slammed Over Privacy By Chinese Court", and I was really confused.
    • Man, I thought that headline was "Yahoo! Slammed Over Privacy By Chinese Court", and I was really confused.

      Really, either one makes about the same amount of sense. Which is none.

  • by corby (56462) on Friday December 21, 2007 @01:02PM (#21781592)
    This is great news. I predict this law will end all copyright violations of photographs of the Tiananmen Square protests.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...but no PRIVACY concerns (except when it comes to the government).

    Isn't this the same country that recently had a Yahoo China employee jailed for dissidence?
    http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/11/13/2031243 [slashdot.org]

    All legitimate companies need to leave China until the Chinese government seeks something besides oppression, and the companies seek something besides *just* a profit.
    • by CRCulver (715279)

      All legitimate companies need to leave China until the Chinese government seeks something besides oppression, and the companies seek something besides *just* a profit.

      The United States has little manufacturing base left. The American economy is completely dependant on China.

      • by Titoxd (1116095)

        The United States has little manufacturing base left. The American economy is completely dependant on China.

        That's only partially true. As the recent mess with lead paint in toys showed, the U.S. is not as dependent on Chinese goods as you would expect. As soon as the news broke, several companies began responding to public perception and shifted their production from China to other countries. Companies understand that as long as it is acceptable to produce goods in China, they can continue to do so, but if it becomes unacceptable with their clients, they have two options: They can just slim their profit margins

      • That's not true, we make a lot of the machinery that makes the crap that we buy :)
  • By confirming that Yahoo China's service violates copyright under new Chinese laws, the Beijing court has effectively set the standard for Internet companies throughout the country.
    A trendsetter! By amazing coincidence, Yahoo! China also sets the standard for companies that fold to totalitarian governments in the name of profits. I'm sure it will be no time at all before Yahoo! China takes care of this pesky issue to China's satisfaction.
  • by explosivejared (1186049) <hagan.jared@g m a i l .com> on Friday December 21, 2007 @01:06PM (#21781678)
    It is basically useless to run a search engine in China. If the search engine has to be responsible for ensuring that content it brings up is in compliance with each every law, sane or crazy, then the data set it opens up to the user will essentially be hacked into one tiny piece. This is perfect for big content and information repressing regimes. The internet is their biggest fear, a decentralized, cheap means of distributing information. If you can narrow its scope, as big content or an information repressing regime, you win.

    "By confirming that Yahoo China's service violates copyright under new Chinese laws, the Beijing court has effectively set the standard for Internet companies throughout the country."

    Translation: "The government has staked its claim. It will control the flow of information on the web across the board. This is just a small step."
    • If Yahoo has any spine left, their next step should be to close up Yahoo! China, leaving just one web page up with an explanation.

      They laid down with pigs and got dirty.
    • by davidsyes (765062)
      I predict/surmise that China will have to relent or compromise. Search engines do good for the site owners of copyrighted material when the return results act as free advertising.

      Site owners who DON'T want their sites OR material OR both to appear should add flags in the site headers. Yahoo! and other search engines could make some deal (not for exploitation by content owners) that if they opt out, then they stand to lose out on advertising. If they opt in, they flag how deep the sites can crawl down throug
  • by Jaysyn (203771)
    IFPI = another group of middle men that needs to fucking die already.
    • I like to think of these "people" (and I use that term very loosely) in the context of Mr. Morden on Babylon 5. Oh, how I'd love to be Vir...

      I'd like to live just long enough to be there when they cut off your head and stick it on a pike as a warning to the next ten generations that some favors come with too high a price. I would look up into your lifeless eyes and wave, like this [smiles and waves his fingers at Morden]. Can you and your associates arrange that for me, Mr. Morden?
      • Oh, come on! That's not a fair comparison at all.

        The Shadows wanted to spread chaos, death, and destruction across the galaxy. They DESERVED to get their home base nuked by Sheridan.

        That doesn't mean it's fair to compare them to LAWYERS, though.
      • by Todd Knarr (15451)

        I'm minded of another line from the same show, by a Mr. A. Bester. It went roughly like this:
        "Did you really think I'd just sit back and let a group of evil aliens walk in and enslave Earth? That's my job.". I see certain parallels between China and Bester here.

        • Personally, I'd cast the Chinese as the evil aliens and Mr. Kennedy of IFPI as Bester. Unfortunately for us, they seem to get along fine so far...
  • The Chinese already have to deal with the Great Firewall. Chances of them searching for anything and it coming up are slim to none. People need to stop concentrating on the symtoms of this problem and deal with the source. The repressive regime of a Government that is China.
  • Irony? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by phoebusQ (539940) on Friday December 21, 2007 @01:13PM (#21781786)
    I don't want to get into a semantic argument about the definition of "irony", but it sure seems "ironic" that China, arguably the piracy capital of the world, is labasting a search company about piracy concerns.
  • I take it that members of the CCP are finally being ill-affected by piracy. It is not 'communism'; it is called Socialism with Chinese characteristics. This must be one of those characteristics.
  • by rtechie (244489) on Friday December 21, 2007 @01:15PM (#21781822)
    "A Chinese court has ruled that Chinese companies do not like competition from American companies so they are going to tar Alibaba.com with the "pirate" brush until Yahoo! divests the company. Then they'll ignore the complaints against Alibaba.com."

  • by Cleon (471197)
    Wait...China is accusing Yahoo of piracy?

    Keep throwing those stones, China; I'm sure it'll do wonders for your glass house.
    • Yes, it makes sense. The U.S. blamed China for rampant copyright infringement, so China blames an American-owned company (or as much American-owned as a company can be in China) for the infringement. It's a time-honored legal tactic: blame the person blaming you for causing the problem.
  • Your... (Score:2, Insightful)

    "Your aunt's cousin's mother's friend's gardener's dog's best friend's owner downloaded watched a movie she's not suppose to. You're going to prison!!!"

    I also think we need to sue Toyota for all the car accidents in the world, the fire/matches for all the destruction in Southern California and god for any and all wars/plagues after 0 BC... WTF?!?

    But yeah, this isn't surprising from a country that had a campaign to kill rice eating birds... only to have the locusts devastate their crops the next year.
    • I also think we need to sue ... god for any and all wars/plagues after 0 BC... WTF?!?
      Because before Christ was born, the wars and plagues were caused by Jeff, god of biscuits?
  • by Jaysyn (203771)
    I could really give a fuck about the state of copyright infringement in China.
    • I could really give a fuck about the state of copyright infringement in China.

      You're a member of Prostitutes for the RIAA, or you mean 'could' in the technical sense of 'couldn't'?

      Sorry, sometimes I just can't resist.

  • but the Chinese Disneyland is okay though, right?
  • in the US. Wasn't the RIAA claiming that ISPs "make available" their copyrighted materials via search results? (If i remember correctly that was slapped down in US court or countered via actual legislation)
    This basically settles the opinion IMO that the RIAA's views on copyright infringement is akin to that of the Chinese government.
    SCARY!

    Now included with your Yahoo search results in China: 10 years hard labor!
  • I wonder why I originally read "IFPI" as "International Federation of Pornographic Industries"?
    • by eiapoce (1049910)
      I tell you why. You read the sentence and then imagined this "John Kennedy, chairman and CEO of the IFPI" drooling happy just like a dog at the idea that in china there are no legal limits to the amount of abuse that the citizen can be subject to. Maybe he's already contemplating new forms of DRM or abuse to experiment on those unfortunate people before trying to export them to more civilized places.

      Then you associated this already fetish image to the quality products of the german filmography that you can
  • What? Isn't this like the pot calling the kettle black? China, you have the worst piracy / animal / human rights record on the fucking planet. So, I recommend you take one step back, look at yourself and shut the fuck up.

    It's bad enough your "leader" has declared himself an Internet expert. And when he visited the US some time ago, played a round of golf, and then declared to his people he made 18 holes-in one I will never take your country, let alone your judicial system seriously while you spew stupid b
    • by ShinmaWa (449201)

      It's bad enough your "leader" has declared himself an Internet expert. And when he visited the US some time ago, played a round of golf, and then declared to his people he made 18 holes-in one I will never take your country, let alone your judicial system seriously while you spew stupid bullshit like this.
      That was Kim Jong Il, the Dear Leader of North Korea, not China. Besides, he only claimed to have made 11 holes in one -- much more realistic ;)
    • Wow.... (Score:2, Informative)

      by CrAlt (3208)
      "It's bad enough your "leader" has declared himself an Internet expert. And when he visited the US some time ago, played a round of golf, and then declared to his people he made 18 holes-in one I will never take your country, let alone your judicial system seriously while you spew stupid bullshit like this."

      How do you expect anyone to take YOU seriously when you don't even know the difference between N. Korea and China. The leader you are thinking of is Kim Jong Il of North Korea. He had his nation's media
  • I can't resist. I'll say it!

    Phonographic

    Even though I always consistently with no single exception pause with great surprise upon reading this word, I think my pattern classifier is correct to place it in the category it always does, perhaps it better describes the value of their contribution to society.

  • i'm shocked (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gzipped_tar (1151931)

    I'm from China. According to my knowledge (yes I may be wrong) there is a corrupted and politics-oriented jurisdiction system in China but these judges in Beijing are simply performing the practice of Foolishness, which is very unusual.

    And the "new" copyright law... What the fuck is that? I'm not a lawyer but I think I'll be digging in the library for a while in search of the new law. OK if there is really such a piece of crap in our laws there must be some fucking shit in the head of the congressmen or a

    • by z-j-y (1056250)

      it would sooner or later kill the whole search engine industry


      And the problem is?...

      Just look at USA, the country is at risk of electing a nutcase as president, thanks to Google and Youtube. It wouldn't have happened in a million years otherwise.

      Not cool, man, government is supposed to be for stability, harmony, 3 representations and 8 shame/honor stuff.
  • The US government issued a statement blasting several map publication houses today. Warning them that they are knowingly aiding murderers to find the way to their victims. President Bush himself told the press he was disappointed in the democratic congress for not enacting tougher regulations on these obviously criminal activities.
    • by dwater (72834)
      Well, I read something similar about map makers in NYC not being allowed to make their maps available because it would aid terrorists....I forget the exact details, but it sounds awefully similar.
  • In the US, if a precedent is set by the courts, this determines future cases as well. This is true only because of the independent judiciary and the rule of law. The judicial branch of the government has power completely independent of the congress or president, and the other branches can't countermand them or remove justices. In many ways the judicial branch is more powerful than any other.

    In china, all power derives from various factions in the communist party and personal loyalties. Even basic things lik

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