Baidu, Record Labels in Deal

Baidu Inc. reached a deal with major record labels to provide licensed copies of songs on the Chinese Internet search giant’s site, a landmark agreement that brings the music industry together with a company long accused by industry executives of abetting piracy.
Under the deal, expected to be unveiled Tuesday, Baidu will be able to provide licensed music files for users to stream or download free. These files will include all songs from the catalogs of Sony Corp.’s Sony Music Entertainment, Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group Corp. Baidu will pay royalties to the labels and a cut of revenue earned from premium music services in the future.

The deal ends a years-long struggle between China’s most popular website and the three big labels over a popular Baidu MP3 search service used to find links to music files around the Web, many of which were unlicensed. The music industry and the U.S. government have complained that the Baidu site was among the world’s most widely used platforms for unlicensed music downloads, with the U.S. Trade Representative listing Baidu as a “notorious” market for piracy.

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