Recently, I've been wondering how and why companies like Tudou and Baidu continues to profit while blatantly break all kinds of intellectual property laws. I assume that this is because China's intellectual property laws are lax and not enforced.
For all the rampant piracy in China, there are signs that Chinese Web sites are feeling the heat of a mounting legal offensive from the country's own film, television and music industries. China's homegrown version of YouTube, Tudou.com, may have made the first concession.
However, Tudou is willing to offer only a compromise, not actual compensation, for the copyrighted content it shares on its Web site. Arguing that the "ocean" of cybercontent out there makes it financially untenable for the popular video-sharing site to pay for everything, Tudou is willing to offer "revenue sharing" instead. It remains to be seen whether any other Chinese video-sharing sites, such as Youku and Ku6, will follow in Tudou's footsteps. Whether Chinese film, television and music groups will be satisfied with their share of profits is another matter.Buried under a mountain of lawsuits, Tudou has agreed to yield some of its advertising revenue to content providers. How much? That is still unclear, but Chief Executive Gary Wang told Chinese media last Thursday that the company may share 10% to 30% of ad revenue, after it takes a closer look at sales data for content. First in line for this revenue-sharing arrangement will be Shanghai Film Group, Shanghai Oriental Film & TV, Zhejiang Television, Jiangsu Television and NEPTV, all groups that have worked with Tudou in the past.
Yet at the same time there are massive amounts of TV shows and movies freely available to watch on Tudou and China's other big video site, Youku.com.
Not that I officially endorse this pracrive, but which show do you feel like watching for free right now: The Simpsons, Entourage, or Desperate Housewives? Seeing that these Chinese sites are messing with American TV shows and movies, it's surprising to me that these sites continue to flourish.
I suppose it's worth asking; can Americans or other people not in China reading this right now access these links that I just provided? Or have they been blocked in America? I know that America doesn't go around blocking sites like China does, but I'm under the impression that US ISPs have been known to block sites which are the source of rampant pirating.
It'd be surprising to me if media companies actually agreed to sharing Tudou's proposal of sharing the profits made off of their illegal sharing. Seems to go against media distribution companies' core principles of anti-piracy.