Various news sources have been reporting that the Beijing High Court has ruled in favour of popular search engine Baidu.com in a copyright infringement suit brought by major record companies. The dispute arose by the existence of a dedicated music search function called Baidu MP3, which allowed users to find infringing copies hosted by third parties. Four major record companies (Universal, EMI, Warner, Sony BMG) and their subsidiaries sued Baidu in 2005 for copyright infringement, alleging that the search engine allowed the download of 137 of their songs. A court ruled in favour of Baidu in November, but the music companies appealed.
This seems like a reasonable decision which lends credit to those of us who believe that linking to infringing material is not infringement as such.
This seems like a good story with which to start 2008. Happy New Year!