The IPKat has just received an informative press release from Rouse International, headed "IFPI wins the ‘illegal music download’ cases against Yahoo!China". It reads, in relevant part:
"On 20 December 2007, the Beijing Higher People’s Court made its final judgment in the case of 11 sound recording companies (all members of the IFPI, International Federation of Phonographic Industries) filed against Yahoo!China. It found Yahoo!China liable for copyright infringement as it provided links to sound recordings which it ought to have known were infringing.The IPKat hopes that a full version of the decision, in English, will soon become available so that we can all study its ramifications. What exactly is the degree of responsibility of Yahoo!? Is it as a search engine provider or as a host? Is its duty merely to remove links once it knows about them, or does it have to verify their status in advance? What implications does this have for businesses that generate and host content, and for consumers? We must have the chance to find out. Merpel adds, well done Rouse International. For years they have been working hard in all sorts of places that we western kats need loads of vaccinations for. Their specialist knowledge and experience in many Asian jurisdictions has been acquired with great effort and we all benefit from it.
The Beijing No.2 Intermediate People’s Court made the first instance judgments in favour of the claimants in April. This was on the grounds that Yahoo!China failed to remove the infringing links in question, and was assisting the copyright infringement of others.
Yahoo!China appealed the first instance judgments, and argued that as a neutral search engine provider they should not bear any liability.
The Beijing Higher People’s Court upheld the first instance judgments and found Yahoo!China liable as it had participated and assisted in the infringement of others. It was also held to have had subjective fault. One of major breakthroughs is that the court held that Yahoo!China has obligation to remove all links of infringing sound recordings, not only the links which the specific URLs are provided. The failure of this was deemed an “obvious indulgence” of infringement.
[The IPKat notes: there then follow the usual lawyer-quotes about what a good decision it was]”