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Global Times interview Chief Lawyer Xu Xinming:Baidu launches campaign against online literature piracy
  

Chinese tech giant Baidu closed a number of its Internet forums about online novels on Monday as part of an anti-piracy campaign.
According to a statement by Baidu social media platform Baidu Tieba on Monday, an anti-piracy campaign to "better protect authorized copies and safeguard authors' rights" is "in full swing" on Tieba's online forums.

Claiming to hold a "zero-tolerance attitude" toward piracy, the company planned to temporarily shut down all Internet forums under the category of literature in order to check content for intellectual property theft.

Regardless of Baidu's intentions in stepping up anti-piracy efforts, the move won recognition from the electronic publishing industry as well as from many observers of intellectual property rights protection.

Calling the move "of positive significance," Xu Xinming, a Beijing-based lawyer specializing in intellectual property rights, told the Global Times on Monday that such an anti-piracy campaign is long overdue, though it is not too late to carry it out.

In 2011, Baidu was found guilty of copyright infringement in a lawsuit filed by literary website qidian.com and was ordered to pay the plaintiff about 550,000 yuan ($84,000) for infringing copyrights for five novels.

On Monday, Lin Tingfeng, one of the founders of qidian.com, called Baidu's campaign "a victory" on Sina Weibo.

Lin, also a senior vice president of China Reading Ltd - the country's largest online literature platform, which was founded by Tencent - also worried that "the victory might just be temporary."

Pirated literature caused paid reading services 7.77 billion yuan in losses in 2014, news site cnr.cn reported in March, adding that pirated works on Tieba accounted for 64.3 percent of all online literature piracy.

Xu also noted that recent controversy surrounding Baidu might be behind the launch of this campaign.

Since the end of April, the tech giant has been battered by so many waves of public outcry over a scandal involving its paid listing service that the government investigated the scandal and later ordered the company to overhaul its policies.

Such a campaign is not likely to make a fundamental impact on piracy on Baidu Tieba, Xu said. Instead, he suggested that the company should formulate a long-term mechanism to monitor copyright infringement.