Tudou, Youku copyright battle intensifies

Two Chinese online video-sharing giants, Youku.com Inc and Tudou Holdings, escalated their fight over copyright infringements yesterday, which reflects increasing importance of video copyrights for Chinese Internet companies. "So far, Youku hasn’t removed the entertainment shows for which we own the copyright," a Tudou public relations executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the Global Times yesterday. "They have shown a poor attitude in handling this issue," the executive said, adding that Tudou was busy removing videos that Youku accused of infringing its copyright. Tudou and the Taiwanese TV station Cti TV jointly announced Friday that they would take legal action against Youku for allegedly reposting episodes of a popular Taiwanese entertainment show "Kangxi is Coming" on Youku’s platform. Tudou said it will ask for a compensation of up to 150 million yuan ($23.63 million). Following that, Youku announced that it will file a lawsuit against Tudou, accusing the latter of allegedly pirating more than 60 television serials from Youku. "If we receive any formal allegations, Youku will deal with it properly," Jean Shao, director of international communications at Youku, told the Global Times yesterday, adding that the company respects copyrights, but has not yet formally received any allegations from Tudou yet. "We call for an end to misleading PR battles, which Tudou is still engaged in," Shao said. Cti TV could not be reached yesterday. The two companies, both listed in the US, are close competitors. Since Chinese authorities have enhanced efforts to prevent intellectual property infringements, disputes over contents have intensified among online video companies. In April 2009, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television slapped many video websites with an order to remove any content for which they did not have copyright or individual broadcasting license. And later, the administration effectively banned hundreds of file-sharing websites as part of an effort to fight pornography and piracy. According to Qu Xiaodong, general manager of CCW Research, the main factor behind the fight between the two companies is the pressure to earn profits as they are both public companies, and video copyrights have become increasingly important to their profit-making ability. "But the way they deal with the copyright infringement is strange," Fang Xingdong, a Chinese Web entrepreneur and founder of chinalabs.com, a web research consultancy, told the Global Times yesterday. He noted the video-sharing companies should focus on sharing. Source: Global Times

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