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US Gov't Takes Baidu Off The "Notorious Markets" Black List

China has historically been the land of copyright and trademark infringement of Western software, goods and other intellectual property — and Chinese websites such as Baidu and Taobao its willing handmaidens. In February of this year the US trade authority named Baidu one of the world’s “notorious markets” because it was seen facilitating copyright infringement.

Here’s what the US Trade Representative said in February:

Baidu exemplifies the problem of online services engaged in “deep linking,” which provide links to online locations containing the allegedly infringing materials. The [notorious markets] list also includes numerous examples of websites involved in BitTorrent tracking and indexing, which facilitate the high speed transfer of infringing materials between users, as well as Internet markets involved in specific activities such as piracy of sports telecasts, Smartphone software and physical products . . .

Some of the other companies on the list included the Alibaba-owned Taobao (as mentioned), Pirate Bay, IsoHunt, torrentz.com, Allofmp3 clones and a range of other sites mostly based in Eastern Europe or China.

In July, however, Baidu “settled” with the big music labels and agreed to offer royalty payments and to “distribute licensed songs through its mp3 search service,” according to Reuters. This agreement has prompted the US to now take Baidu off the “notorious markets” list. Were Baidu not listed on the NASDAQ exchange it probably wouldn’t care what the US Trade Representative thought or did in all likelihood.

This issue of piracy and copyright infringement is in large part what’s driving the effort behind the now notorious Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Chris Sherman has written an extensive discussion of the bill and its potential impact over on Marketing Land.

While its intentions are valid its methodology is overbroad and draconian. The fate of the bill is uncertain but there’s still a reasonable chance that it will come to a vote in the US House of Representatives. It still must make it out of committee however.

Unable to come to a vote last week, the House Judiciary Committee has another hearing on SOPA this morning.

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