Xunlei shuts down ‘pirate’ search engine


Chinese web company Xunlei has shut down its search engine Gougou, which the US government had accused of promoting piracy.

A message on the site reads: “Gougou.com has been shut down. Thank you for all your support, and we are sorry for any inconvenience. The Gougou team.”

It is unclear why Xunlei, which also provides file-sharing and streaming services, has taken Gougou offline. There is no suggestion that the US government was involved, and Xunlei has not responded to a request for comment.

The US government included the site on its Notorious Markets list in December 2012. It said industry reports suggested Gougou “actively” provided deep links—those pointing to a specific page or image on another site—to “infringing music files and torrent links from unauthorised sources”.

Horace Lam, partner at Jones Day in Beijing, said the removal of Gougou was a great success for rights owners but there are other, similar sites operating in China, and it will be interesting to see if they close as well.

He added: “Overall, it is a good development.  China is also in the process of revising a few of the IP laws. That should also help future enforcement of IP in China.”

There have been more positive developments for Chinese websites associated with alleged IP infringement. In its report on notorious markets last year the US government removed Taobao from the list, saying it had made “notable” efforts to tackle egregious behaviour. These include making it quicker and easier to remove counterfeit goods from its listings.

Xunlei aborted its plans for an initial public offering in 2011, partly because there were serious concerns about the existence of piracy on Gougou and some of its other platforms.

This article was first published on 03 January 2013 in World IP Review

xunlei, gougou.com, taobao, notorious markets

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