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Yahoo China is being sued by music labels including Warner Music Group and Universal for providing links to unlicensed music, reports Reuters. The case was filed in January by 11 companies and seeks damages of 5.5 million yuan ($710,686). Yahoo China is run by Alibaba — Yahoo has a 40 percent stake in that company. Yahoo denies the charges, of course, claiming that “the courts have clearly established the precedent that search engine operators are not liable for content posted on third-party Web sites”. Baidu.com was cleared of similar charges by the Chinese courts last November. Digital Music News reports that 229 Chinese and English songs are involved, including ringtones and lyrics.
Meanwhile, in Taiwan Yahoo-Kimo has announced the closure of its music subscription service, reports AsiaMedia. It will turn the Yahoo-Kimo Music site into a music news site and redirect people seeking to purchase music to its rival KKBOX, which has the same price of NT$149 (US$4.6) a month.
“Despite Yahoo-Kimo’s attributing the termination of its music download segment to a reorientation of its operational strategy, it is widely acknowledged that the gloomy market outlook caused by rampant online piracy was the major reason for the search giant’s decision to drop out of the online music market…Yahoo-Kimo Music registered close to 600,000 downloads of its software during the free trial period, but secured only a small number of paid subscribers after the period, Wu said, refusing to provide membership figures as well as the deficit incurred from the business.”