A local court has ruled that a Shanghai game developer did not infringe on the copyright of a Beijing author by linking to a website that appeared to host downloadable copies of his books, Shanghai Pudong New Area People's Court said Tuesday.
The author, Yuan Tengfei, a Chinese history teacher famous for his lectures, sued the developer, The9 Ltd, for 283,000 yuan ($46,251) after he found his books listed on mobile phone reading software that the company developed, according to a court press release.
Yuan accused the company of uploading his books to its server without his consent. The9 denied the accusation. In a notarized statement, it said the search results that Yuan submitted as evidence were only links to other websites.
The court believed that the case hinged on whether the defendant provided the plaintiff's book online directly, and if not, whether providing links to his content constituted copyright infringement, according to the press release.
When court staff searched for Yuan's books through The9's software, they found that the software listed Yuan's books, but was unable to download them. However, the software did link users to other websites that seemed to host the books, though it was unclear whether the books could be downloaded from the sites.
The court believed that The9 showed that the link sent users to another website, which meant that the company did not host the books. Thus, the court ruled that it did not constitute copyright infringement because providing links is protected under Chinese law.