Baidu culls three million books to appease angry authors

Baidu has panicked and deleted about three million pieces of literature to prove it’s doing its best to appease copyright holders.

After an ongoing copyright dispute with writers, the Chinese search engine has gone on a three day rampage and deleted nearly three million “potentially infringing” works from its online literary section – Baidu Wenku.

According to AFP this leaves the service, which was created to allow users to read, share or download texts for free, with just under 1,000 works to leaf through. Baidu says any uploads in the future will be carefully vetted before going public.

The Chinese site has taken the measures after over 40 authors signed a letter which painted Baidu as allowing their works to be available as free downloads without their permission.

Despite disagreements and break downs, Baidu saw the light and bowed down to the group at the weekend

The service worked by allowing users to upload texts and books from authors, which of course led to copyright complaints. However authors had faced a brick wall in trying to get these taken down, being referred to a complaints site, which promised deletion of the texts within 48 hours.

This often didn’t happen, but Baidu covered itself by posting a disclaimer online which made users who uploaded the content responsible. The writers had insisted the firm should bear responsibility.