The United States has removed Baidu Inc, China's largest search engine, from its list of notorious markets for piracy in a nod to the firm's efforts to clean up its music offerings.
In February of this year the US trade authority named Baidu one of the world's "notorious markets" because facilitating copyright infringement:
"Baidu exemplifies the problem of online services engaged in "deep linking," which provide links to online locations containing the allegedly infringing materials. The list also includes numerous examples of websites involved in BitTorrent tracking and indexing, which facilitate the high speed transfer of infringing materials between users, as well as Internet markets involved in specific activities such as piracy of sports telecasts, Smartphone software and physical products. Key physical markets listed include, for example, Beijing's notorious Silk Market, as well as numerous other markets from a wide range of countries and regions," said a US Trade Representative in February this year.
This issue of piracy and copyright infringement is in large part what's driving the effort behind the now notorious Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
"This year's list also highlights positive developments since the issuance of the previous Notorious Markets List in February of 2011. For example, USTR applauds Chinese site Baidu, one of the world's most visited sites and previously identified as an example of a site linking to infringing content, for entering into a licensing agreement with U.S. and other rights holders in the recording industry," USTR said, announcing Results of Special 301 Review of Notorious Markets.
"Several commentators reported that pirated and counterfeit goods continue to be widely available on China-based Taobao. While stakeholders report that Taobao continues to make significant efforts to address the problem, they recognize that much remains to be done," USTR said in its report on Tuesday.
The report also cited two Chinese music websites, Sogou Mp3 and Gougou as providing "deep linking" services to copyrighted music. Four of the 15 listed physical notorious markets for piracy are located in China, USTR said.
In July, Baidu inked an agreement with top music studios to distribute licensed songs through its mp3 search service, ending a legal dispute over accusations the company encouraged piracy, reports Reuters.
However, Alibaba Group's Taobao unit made it on the United States Trade Representative's November notorious markets list for offering a wide range of copyright infringing products.