John Kennedy, Chairman and Chief Executive of International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has released a statement to the press concerning the ruling against Yahoo! China. IFPI filed 11 separate claims for an injunction and damages against the Chinese internet search engine Yahoo! China on behalf of local and international record companies in January 2007 after the service walked away from talks regarding its alleged infringement of the record companies' rights.
"This is a good news day for the music industry. This judgement will boost the growth of a licensed digital music business in China and provide better protection for intellectual property in this vast, exciting market. The ruling promises to improve the whole environment in which the local and international music industry does business in China.The cases were brought on behalf of EMI Group Hong Kong Limited, EMI Records Limited, EMI Taiwan Limited, Go East Limited, Mercury Records Limited, Sony BMG Music Entertainment (Taiwan) Limited, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal International Music B.V, Universal Music Limited, Warner Music Hong Kong Limited and WEA International Inc.
"The Beijing Court has confirmed that Yahoo! China has clear responsibility for removing all links to the infringing tracks on its service. Since this is a judgment made under new regulations in China, today's judgment supersedes the previous decision on Baidu and confirms the responsibility of all similar music search providers in China.
"The judgment gives our members the legal basis to require all music search engines in China to remove infringing links from their service – which we will do. The Court has effectively called time on this type of mass digital piracy in China. Now we must see that this ruling is respected by all those who seek to profit from providing access to music online in this way."
Yahoo! China was alleged to have infringed IFPI member companies' rights on a major scale by making available copyrighted songs for download through its service without any permission from the record companies. Specifically, Yahoo! China, through its MP3 search page, offers a music delivery service that induces and facilitates users to search for individual mp3 music tracks, and then download and/or play them for free without ever leaving Yahoo! China's website.