Baidu Inc, China's top search engine, has been found guilty of copyright infringement and ordered to pay compensation to a popular literary website, the Shanghai Daily reported on Thursday.
The Luwan District People's Court has ordered Baidu to pay Qidian.com about 550,000 yuan ($84,722) for infringing its copyright for five novels, the paper said.
In March 2010, Qidian sued Baidu, saying its users could use Baidu to find links to pirated versions of five novels for which it owned the Internet copyrights.
A Baidu spokesman said the company had already filed an appeal and declined to comment further.
Over the past few months, Baidu has been involved in a dispute over its Baidu Library product with a group of authors who said Baidu reproduced their works without permission. Baidu apologized to the authors and took down the infringing material.
Last month, the official Xinhua news agency said the Ministry of Culture would punish Baidu and other sites for providing illegal music downloads.
($1 = 6.492 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Kazunori Takada and Melanie Lee; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Matt Driskill)