Majors Sue Yahoo China Over Online Music Infringement

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Yahoo China operator Alibaba is now on the receiving end of a major lawsuit, one that includes plaintiffs Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group.

In total, a group of eleven music companies have targeted Yahoo China, alleging widespread infringement related to digital downloads, lyrics, ringtones, and other assets.  The suit requests compensation of 5.5 million yuan ($687,500) and the immediate shutdown of offending pages.  According to information supplied by Chinese news agency Xinhua, the case will be heard by the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court.  The violations revolve around 229 Chinese and English songs.

China is notorious for music piracy, and Yahoo China is a frequently referenced example.  And this is not the first time that Alibaba has been targeted – in July of last year, the company was sued by global recording industry trade group IFPI.  That is just one of several legal roes involving leading Chinese websites, including an MP3 search service from Baidu.  The search giant, often characterized as the “Google of China,” successfully pushed back on an infringement lawsuit in November of last year, part of a difficult enforcement climate for rights holders.