By Edward Nawotka
Following complaints by some 40 authors, including race car driving icon Han Han, Chinese search engine giant Baidu has deleted 2.8 million documents. According to several reports by AFP, the authors had signed a letter calling Baidu a “corrupt thief company” and complaining that their copyrighted works were being made available for free without their consent.
According to the report, “all documents are uploaded by Internet users and as of November, Baidu Wenku had stockpiled more than 10 million texts and books.” The deletions took three days and left fewer than 1,000 works on the site (some reports indicate it is actually less than 200).
The move is likely an effort on the part of Baidu to combat the perception that the company has little regard for copyright or accuracy, an accusation frequently floated by Google -– Baidu’s main rival in the Chinese search business. In recent months, Google has suffered several blows in China, where the company’s search engine services were removed from Sina.com (an extremely popular Web portal). Last March, in a dispute with the Chinese government over censoring searches, Google moved its search business to Hong Kong.