Record Labels Sue Baidu for Copyright Infringement

The four largest record companies have sued Inc. for copyright infringement, alleging the Chinese Internet search engine has been illegally providing links to free digital music downloads, according to a trade group the represents the music industry.

Universal Music Group, EMI Group Plc and Warner Music Group Corp. filed their suits in July in Beijing to stop Baidu from providing those links, a spokesman for the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said. Sony BMG Music Entertainment filed its suit earlier this month.

The music industry has been cracking down on piracy, one of its largest costs. It recently won a landmark decision against Grokster, a peer-to-peer network that allowed users to download music from one another without permission from the artists.

The Baidu case is believed to be different, since the search engine is providing links to sites that offer illegal downloads.

Baidu, known as the Chinese Google, lost nearly a third of its market value earlier this week after two of the investment banks that managed the company's initial public offering said the stock price was overblown.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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