Summary:

Legal online movie services offered by sites like Youku and Tudou may benefit after e-commerce platform Taobao consents to Hollywood’s pleas that it stop selling counterfeit movie discs.

Shanghai skyline, China
photo: Robert S. Donovan

Hollywood has won a healthy but incremental victory in its efforts to create a legal market for its content in Asia.

China’s largest consumer e-commerce retailer, Taobao, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in which it commits to remove counterfeit physical copies of movies (release).

That commitment means Alibaba Group-owned Taobao will require its merchants hold licenses necessary for selling legal versions.

The MOU concerns physical entertainment and stops short of brokering a deal for internet film distribution. But it may help divert illegal consumption toward legal movie services now being offered by local video sites.

Services like Youku and Tudou have, over the last year, gained licenses from several Hollywood studios to show their movies to premium subscribers in China.

Previously, the music industry had successfully sued Baidu to end its deep linking from search results to illegally-hosted MP3 files. The case was settled out of court and saw Baidu eventually launch its own legal music service, Ting, replacing unauthorised deep links.

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