From the company we can never really tell if it’s evil and unscrupulous, or just evil and cool, comes a quest to kick those pirates ass, in the country where 99% (real data) of all music comes from illegal sources – China. And Chinese are one of the most avid music consumers in the world. But how does Google plan to do that? According to Jacqui Cheng at Ars Technica:
“Google is taking on Baidu in China by launching its own music search site—except this one will only point users to music that is free and legal to distribute. The site, located at google.cn/music and only accessible by Chinese Internet users, allows users to search by singer and song title. The search results will point to songs hosted by Top100.cn, a Chinese music site with financial backing from basketball star Yao Ming. Google’s music site will be ad-supported, and the company says that ad revenue will be shared with Top100.cn and its music partners.
Google’s music search appears to be a direct response to the popular Chinese search engine Baidu, which has made a name for itself by providing deep links to seemingly unlimited quantities of illegal music. In fact, Baidu has finally come under fire for its MP3 deep-linking policies, as the Music Copyright Society of China and the IFPI have both filed lawsuits against the search engine for enabling rampant copyright infringement. The three labels represented by the IFPI are seeking maximum damages of 500,000 yuan (roughly US$71,000) per track on at least 127 tracks, totaling 63,500,000 yuan (US$9 million) in damages. That could just be the minimum, too, as the IFPI says Baidu may face damages in the billions.
Clearly, Chinese Internet users love music as much as the rest of the world, and there would be quite an uproar if Baidu were to shut down or stop deep linking MP3s. Google China believes that things don’t have to be this way, though. “The Internet industry should by no means stand in the opposite camp against the music industry,” Google China President Kai-fu Lee said in a statement to Reuters. “Google always believes profoundly that mutual interest, rather than monopoly, is the key to sustainable growth.” “