BEIJING, 1 MARCH 2011 - Two of China's biggest websites, the search engine Baidu and online retailer Taobao, were named as "notorious markets" in a new U.S. government report for allegedly supporting pirated and counterfeit goods.
China's largest search engine, Baidu, was named as an offender for providing online services that provide links to pirated goods via third-party sites. Major record labels have leveled the same accusations, claiming that Baidu "deep links" users to hundreds of thousands of illegal songs hosted on other sites. In 2008, the record labels brought a lawsuit against Baidu, only to see it fail.
Baidu declined to comment on the U.S. report.
China's largest online retailer, Taobao.com, was also named a major offender for allowing merchants to offer counterfeit goods on its website. The report, however, added that the company is "making significant efforts to address the availability of infringing goods through its website."
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative released a report on Monday highlighting examples of major offenders connected with counterfeiting or piracy. The U.S. is encouraging the "responsible authorities" to take action and increase enforcement against the illegal activities supported by the examples named.
Taobao responded by saying it appreciates the U.S trade office for acknowledging its efforts to protect intellectual property rights. "We will continue to work closely with brand owners and others to further enhance the level of trust and integrity in our online marketplaces for the benefit of all our stakeholders," said Taobao spokeswoman Justine Chao.
China has long been known for rampant piracy, which extends from bootleg movie DVDs sold on street corners to counterfeit goods marketed online. But over the years, both the Chinese government and U.S. authorities have made repeated efforts to combat the illegal activities.
In October, China kicked off a six-month campaign to crackdown on piracy, by targeting the production and distribution of bootleg DVDs and software products. China has also said it will inspect all central and local government computers to ensure they are using copyright software.
Sign up for MIS Asia eNewsletters.