Answer Blowing in the Wind





In the Traditional Calendar, it will soon be Qing Ming. Unlike Halloween, Qing Ming is not a playful day and absolutely not for children. It is a day to memorize the ancestors and the other dead family. It is also a day for everyone to review the past and think about the meaning of remaining life. I guess only Chinese who can maintain such a meditation “holiday” that links up the spiritual world with the reality, the past with the future, and the dead with the live.

Meditation can make people calm down and purify their thought. But meditation may not always provide the answer people are seeking for. How many times must Baidu be sued before we can know the right and wrong in cyberspace? Baidu that occupies 70% of Internet search market in China was pushed into spotlight by a group of well-know novelists who are angry at the Baidu’s document file-share services that enable millions of literary works (particularly novels) be uploaded and shared among Internet users. Baidu had been sued for a couple of times by phonograph industry for MP3 file-sharing services. However, the contradictory decisions made by a variety of courts under the influence of those “Gold-Ruble” scholars only serve to confuse the public and blur the line of right and wrong. I’m now in belief that the liability of inducement may not be a bad solution, because it could put an end to the game of “catch-me-if-you-can” played by those intermediaries in genuine bad faith.

Yes, the file-sharing services are free of charge to users, but they are profiting from commercial ads; Yes, there is “safe harbor” available in the law, it should never shield intentional and systematic infringers; Yes, people need to access information and copyright works, but the danger to let a commercial company to maintain a major information channel to the public is even more acute and penetrating. Cannot the people see that they will be at the mercy of a company if it is allowed to monopolize the source of information and knowledge? If one day, you can only read a novel from Baidu, you would have to accept any condition Baidu imposes on you. In a poor competitive environment, the danger of such monopoly is imminent.

An interview of mine on Baidu case has been published at BNU Newspaper on April 11, 2011.

My view on Google Book Project (article published on China Copyright, Issue 1, 2011) has been completely proved by the Decision of Judge Denny Chin in U.S. district court in Manhattan. I don’t think Baidu’s services is anything better than Google’s project that also labeled as a service to the public. But the answer to Baidu’s case is still blowing in the wind in this thousand-year old country.


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