By Sharon Kwok
A few weeks after being blacklisted in the US Trade Representative (USTR) report on major copyright offenders, Gougou.com has finally shut down.
Described by Tech in Asia as “China’s most notorious pirate content search engine”, it used to be a popular site to search for free (copyright-protected) movies, music, software, games and e-books. Its home page has now been replaced with a simple bilingual notice that says, “Gougou.com has been closed down. Thank you all for your support, and we are sorry for any inconvenience.”
In its report the USTR commented, “This Chinese-based site facilitates the downloading and distribution of pirated music and movies, not only through deep-linking services, but also by offering cyberlocker facilities and through its own innovative high-speed P2P (peer-to-peer) file-sharing system.”
Gougou was run by Chinese web company Xunlei, which offers a software that, according to VentureBeat columnist Greg Pilarowski, facilitated 138 million downloads on an average day in 2010. However, the company has backed out of its US share sale plans last year due to piracy concerns. The recent blacklisting of Gougou by an intellectual property authority was definitely another blow to its reputation.