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Baidu To Launch Legal Music Service

BEIJING (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Baidu Inc, China's leading search engine, has announced that they plan to launch a licensed music search service in May, in an effort to quiet critics who claim that Baidu's current search service enables music theft.

According to Reuters, the service, dubbed Baidu Ting, will let users search, stream and download music, as well as create online libraries of legal music with built-in social networking features.

Baidu has reportedly reached a deal over fees for the music downloaded in Baidu Ting with Music Copyright Society of China (MCSC). The deal, however, only covers publishing rights with performance rights still under negotiation. Reuters said Baidu is also in talks with Sony Music, Universal Music, and Warner and that they had already struck a deal with EMI.

How much of an impact this service will have on China's music piracy problem remains to be seen and major labels claim that said piracy in the Asian nation has cost them hundreds of millions. Many of the Mp3s listed on Baidu's current music search service infringe on copyrights.

"Our members want to partner with and invest in China's digital revolution, but they cannot do so while the music service run by the dominant Internet company, Baidu, facilitates infringement of the rights of artists and creators online," said International Federation of the Phonographic Industry in a letter to London newspaper The Financial Times last month. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers