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Baidu's e-mall shut over copyrights

Chinese search engine Baidu launched an online shopping mall Thursday, but the e-mall powered by cloud computing was shut down in less than 24 hours due to suspected copyright issues.

The e-mall provides service allowing users to trade electronic files, including videos, pictures, documents as well as music. Users can also post transaction information and comments. All the transactions are done via Baidu's payment platform, baifubao.

Baidu said earlier it doesn't own copyrights of all the electronic files uploaded by its users nor does it have the obligation to check the files, according to a statement detailing its cloud computing operating system. The search engine required potential users to sell copyrighted resources based on an honor system. If any copyright complaints were filed, the use of related electronic resources will be stopped, Baidu said.

The statement, however, was criticized by copyright experts. They believed Baidu's computing-based e-mall gives users much more freedom, which is likely to result in the abuse of copyrights.

It was not the first time Baidu had to deal with copyright issues.

In 2005, music companies such as Universal Music, Warner Music and Sony BMG sued Baidu for providing copyright-infringing downloads of their music. The case was finally ruled in favor of the music companies. Baidu agreed to pay royalties to get legal access to the copyrighted songs.

In 2011, renowned Chinese writers led by Han Han accused Baidu of "stealing" their works in its Wenku literary database and allowing users to download them for free. Baidu was ordered in 2012 to pay 145,000 yuan (about $22,939) to the writers for failing to take action to prevent their works from being pirated.

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