Google partner in China is accused of abetting piracy

A Google partner in China has come under fire for allegedly encouraging piracy, said the Motion Picture Association (MPA)

A Google partner in China has come under fire for allegedly encouraging piracy, the Motion Picture Association (MPA) said Saturday.

"We have been watching [Shenzhen Xunlei Networking Technologies] for some time and we have observed that like many file sharing networks/enablers in China, the content available through them includes copyright-infringing versions of Motion Picture Association member company films," said Mike Ellis, senior vice president and regional director, Asia Pacific, of the Motion Picture Association (MPA), by e-mail.

Earlier this month, Google announced a partnership with Shenzhen Xunlei Networking Technologies, which claims to be China's largest software download engine, for use of the Google search engine and for co-marketing and product cooperation. The two companies did not release financial details of the agreement.

Ellis hopes that Google will encourage Xunlei to respect intellectual property rights. "It is our hope that Google will influence its partner in a manner appropriate to a company with the stated philosophy of 'You can make money without doing evil,'" he said. "From our perspective, copyright theft falls under 'evil.'"

Xunlei representatives did not respond to a request for comment. "Google respects copyrights," said Marsha Wang, a Google spokeswoman based in Beijing, via e-mail. She referred all other queries directly to Xunlei.

Ellis declined comment on whether the MPA or its individual members were planning legal action against Xunlei.

The MPA estimates that its member companies lost an estimated US$280 million in China in 2005 and US$1.2 billion in Asia-Pacific. The figures are based on what the MPA projects consumers would spend on cinema tickets, DVDs and other film-viewing opportunities if pirated film products were not available.

The MPA is the international arm of the Motion Picture Association of America, the American film industry's lobbying group. It is comprised of Hollywood's largest film studios: Walt Disney's Buena Vista International Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film, Universal City Studios and Warner Bros Entertainment.

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