Popular Beijing-based search engine Baidu has responded to a copyright-infringement lawsuit filed against it on Feb. 4 by Universal Music, Sony BMG Music Entertainment Hong Kong and Warner Music Hong Kong. The Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court agreed to hear the suit last week.

"As the leader in Chinese-language search, Baidu has always been an advocate of improving the protection of copyrights on the Internet," the company says in a statement released April 10. "Baidu is committed to working with record and media companies to develop new digital entertainment business models and explore ways to promote licensed content."

The labels are seeking damages totaling $9 million for infringing copyright on 127 tracks, the maximum statutory compensation under Chinese law of 500,000 yuan ($71,352) per track.

Baidu says it "has cooperated with a number of record companies, including leading labels such as EMI and Rock Music Group, as well as nearly half of the domestic record companies.