God knows what has happened to the video-swap agreement signed by Youku and Tudou two years ago.
Heartwarming mudslinging match between Youku and Tudou, China’s top video websites now suing the hell out of each other for using each other’s copyrighted content:
In a Dec. 16 lawsuit, Youku accused Tudou of stealing 60 of its programs including serials called “The Emperor’s Harem,” ‘’Hip-Hop Office Quartet” and “Miss Puff.”
Tudou says it has filed suit in Shanghai and Beijing accusing Youku of showing a Taiwanese series, “Kangxi Has Come,” after Tudou obtained rights to it. The company claims Youku showed Japanese cartoons without the owner’s permission.
The companies, both of which have shares traded on U.S. exchanges, accuse each other of trying to use legal claims to gain a competitive edge.
“Youku think they can live on free traffic without paying for the content,” said Tudou CEO Gary Wang in a statement, “and they are trying to hide the fact that they are actually not as competitive as they pretend to be.”
Both companies reject the accusations in the lawsuits.
“Tudou is playing games,” said a Youku spokeswoman, Jean Shao.
Also interesting is the following quote by Beijing-based marketing consultant David Wolf on how China’s youth have abandoned state TV outright:
“We all know it’s taking place but nobody wants to go out and publicize the data. The online video guys are terrified that if there are statistics that show the ‘golden demographic’ dropping TV to watch online video, then the government is going to come after them.”