Chinese blogger sues search engine Baidu for copyright violation

A Beijing court began hearing a lawsuit filed by popular Chinese writer and blogger Han Han against Internet search engine Baidu today.

The trial marks the first showdown between the Writers' Union, an organisation which aims to safeguard writers' copyright online, and Baidu Wenku, a free Internet library where people can read and download books.

Proceedings got under way at 2 p.m. at the Haidian District People's Court.

In the indictment, Wang Guohua, the attorney representing Han Han and the union, accuses Baidu of violating writers' copyright, and demands that the company closes its online library and prints an apology on its homepage for seven days.

Han Han, who is also a member of the Copyright Protection Alliance, is asking for 760,000 yuan (S$149,452) in damages.

In March last year, more than 40 writers, including Han Han and novelist Jia Pingwa, signed a letter accusing Baidu of offering their works as free downloads on its online library without permission.

Several writers established the union to protect their rights in July 2011 and attempted to negotiate with the Internet company, but failed, prompting the lawsuit, according to previous reports.

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