Legally download illegal mp3s in China!

Any of you that thought teaching students to follow copyright laws in your country were difficult. From techcrunch:

On a more positive note a Beijing appeals court ruled that Baidu was not guilty of copyright infringement for posting links to websites that offer illegal music downloads. Baidu offers music search on its front page and the service is often cited as being one of the core reasons behind its success in China over Google…

So..now what do I teach the students? “It’s illegal to download music if you don’t pay for it, expect if you use Baidu.com, then you can do it all you want.” You don’t have to read Chinese to use the mp3 search. Just go to baidu.com and click on mp3 and type in the title of a song. I tried it and had the song I was looking for within 30 seconds (all legal right?).

So I’m trying to wrap my head around what this means for the world of music. A country of over 1 billion people who are buying computers and getting online at a very fast pace (Just ask those who have visited here with me) can now download any mp3 they want legally via a very popular Chinese search engine. This leaves me thinking about the great discussions I had with my middle school students last year about downloading illegal music and how all my arguments, just went out the window.

I just keep thinking about how I’m going to explain this. You can download the music, but can you use it in a photostory or a video? You downloaded it from an illegal site via legal means (is that confusing?). So the searching for illegal music is not illegal just the actual downloading of the song. Reminds me of the famous line “I didn’t inhale”.

Well at any rate I’m gonna have to take some time to wrap my head around this one. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Should we be celebrating this, or scratching our heads on how do we explain this to both teachers and students (teachers listen to music too 😉 )?

[tags]baidu[/tags]

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