Robin Li, dread pirate CEO of Baidu.
A group of writers and publishers, including Han Han, have gotten together to collect compensation from the likes of Baidu and Apple for selling their work without permission.
Back in March, Baidu was successfully sued for 550,000 yuan after it linked to unauthorized copies of works owned by Shanda Literature (Baidu has since appealed the ruling). In reporting on the case, the Global Times pointed out that the Office of the US Trade Representative called Baidu a “notorious market” for pirated works. Baidu agreed to delete illegal files from its services.
Well, it’s been five months and they haven’t gotten rid of it all. Since it’s expensive to bring a suit against companies like Baidu, many writers don’t file suit. That’s where this new group, the Writers Rights Alliance, comes in. They’ve started with an initial fund of 3 million yuan with representation of 30 authors, and its operator says they’re expected to file more than 100 lawsuits a year.
First up? Apple. Zhu Jintai has filed suit against Apple after his novel was being sold from its app store without permission. Bei Zhicheng, the spokesman for the Writers Right Alliance (which hasn’t committed yet to Zhu’s case) said that Apple’s App store was worse than Baidu because it gets a cut of the $2.99 USD it charges for ebooks.
Bei also said the group’s goal was the “complete elimination of copyright infringement in China.” Good luck with that!
By Robert O’Connor