China's Baidu, Taobao accused of peddling pirated goods

A US report has come down hard on two of China’s biggest websites, claiming that they are supporting pirated and counterfeit goods.

The two in question are the country’s popular search engine Baidu and e-commerce site Taobao, both of which have been described in the report as “notorious markets.”

The report pointed the finger at Baidu claiming that some of the links it provides go through to pirated goods sites via a third party – something record labels have been moaning about since 2008. In fact, they felt so strongly about it they even tried to sue the site but failed miserably.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative report also pointed its finger at Taobao accusing it of allowing merchants to offer counterfeit goods on its website.

However, it’s also had a few problems with “hackers”. In January the site was found to have been selling hacked accounts for the iTunes Store. At the time the going rate on-site for hacked user accounts was around $30, with the promise of $200 worth of downloads of songs, movies and other such products available on Apple’s iTunes store.

It also provided a disclaimer with regards to the legality of what was being posted as well as a note encouraging buyers to complete all downloads within 24 hours before the authorities or cardholder realised the theft. To this, Taobao added that it had no legal liability for the items sold, nor could it vouch for their authenticity.

However, once this all came to light Taobao went running to Apple, claiming that it knew nothing at all.

The report claims Taobao was “making significant efforts to address the availability of infringing goods through its website.”

Speaking about the report, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk said: “Piracy and counterfeiting undermine the innovation and creativity that is vital to our global competitiveness. These notorious markets not only hurt American workers and businesses, but are threats to entrepreneurs and industries around the world.

“The review we are announcing today shines a light on examples of many offending markets, and highlights an opportunity to work together with our trading partners to curb illicit trade and expand legitimate commerce in creative and innovative industries.”