told to pay rival, apologise

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 December, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 December, 2003, 12:00am

Mainland internet portal Sohu .com was yesterday ordered to pay 210,000 yuan to rival and apologise for copyright infringement.

The No2 Beijing Intermediate Court found guilty of stealing about 380 downloadable pictures and screen savers for mobile phones from The court has also ordered to publish an apology on its main web page for 24 hours, within 10 days.

The lawsuit is one of a number involving the two companies, covering everything from defamation and unfair competition to piracy. The suit, which was brought by in January last year, had accused of pirating 553 mobile pictures, as well as financial and sports reports originally published by had demanded 300,000 yuan in compensation. responded to the accusation by suing for defamation.

'Nobody can claim copyrights on mobile pictures since there is no clear definition of internet intellectual property,' Zhang Chaoyang, chief executive, was widely reported as saying.

By last night, had not posted the apology, nor was the website carrying news of the verdict. In comparison, is carrying many reports on the case collected from national print media. and are vicious competitors in the mainland's lucrative internet market. When drew 20 million visitors a day to read material written by sex diarist Mu Zimei, Sohu attacked her with scathing criticism. also said web portals should maintain content standards.

Cases involving digital evidence have long been up for debate because no printed pictures or words can be provided. Legal experts say the verdict sets a precedent.