Baidu deletes 2.8m online works due to copyright tussle

Baidu's chairman introduces the company's search engine Millions of texts and books had been uploaded to Baidu Wenku creating a dispute with authors

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Chinese search engine Baidu has deleted 2.8m works from its online library, Baidu Wenku, in an attempt to settle a copyright dispute with writers.

More than 40 authors had accused the company of offering their works as free downloads without permission.

Negotiations between the authors and the company had broken down last week, but Baidu had promised to delete unlicensed items.

Baidu Wenku allows users to read, share or download texts free of cost.

The company said that the latest move meant all infringing material had been removed from its library.

"By Tuesday afternoon we had removed almost 2.8 million files, mainly from the Literary Works section of the site, which was the primary concern of the writers and publishers," Baidu spokesperson Kaiser Kuo told the BBC.

Responsibility issues

Baidu Wenku allows users to upload documents and texts to its library.

As a result, the company had said that the users who uploaded these files should be responsible for any copyright issues.

However, the authors had claimed that the firm should be held responsible for any infringements.

While the two sides look for an amicable solution to the problem, Baidu said it was aiming to work more closely with writers and authors in the future.

"Now that we've scrubbed the site, we hope our good faith action will be a good, solid foundation for future co-operation," Mr Kuo said.

"One thing that this whole episode has amply demonstrated is that Baidu Library is very powerful distribution platform that can be put to very good and profitable use by the authors and publishers in cooperation with Baidu, to the benefit of all parties, especially the readers," he added.

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