The IFPI is planning to sue Web portal Yahoo China for copyright infringement. "Yahoo China are operating a service which is infringing on our members' rights," IFPI chairman John Kennedy explained to

The IFPI is planning to sue Web portal Yahoo China for copyright infringement.

"Yahoo China are operating a service which is infringing on our members' rights," IFPI chairman John Kennedy said today (July 4) in a phone interview from Beijing. "I find it astonishing that a brand name, a household name like Yahoo would be doing this."

In a practice known as "deep linking," Yahoo China's music pages link directly to unlicensed downloads and streams of songs by domestic and international artists hosted by sites that appear to be unaffiliated with Yahoo.

Kennedy explains that the IFPI has held discussions with representatives of Beijing-based Alibaba International, the company that manages Yahoo China, and with U.S.-based parent company Yahoo.

"We've asked them to stop," says Kennedy, but as of July 4 the Yahoo China Web site still featured hundreds of deep links to unlicensed content.

Kennedy says the IFPI will file a civil suit against Yahoo China soon unless the service comes back with an acceptable offer.

Yahoo China did not reply to requests for comment by press time.

IFPI's impending lawsuit follows the Chinese government's July 1 introduction of a set of streamlined regulations under the country's copyright law. Those measures clarify the liability of content and service providers -- including portals that deep-link -- involved in the distribution of unauthorized content.

Under the new regulations such sites can be shut down, as well as being fined a maximum of 100,000 yuan ($12,461).

Meanwhile, in a June 30 meeting the IFPI and seven record companies rejected as "unacceptable" an offer by Beijing-based web portal baidu.com to settle a copyright-violation case launched by the labels against baidu last September.