BEIJING, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- A copyright dispute between China's two largest online video-sharing companies continues to rage, with youku.com filing a lawsuit against its major competitor, tudou.com, for losses caused by remarks by Tudou in which the company claimed that Youku misused some of its copyrighted material.
Youku, a NYSE-listed company, said in its lawsuit that the claims made by Tudou caused a slump in its share price and raised the attention of overseas investors, as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission, America's financial regulator.
The company also said it has suffered severe losses in advertising revenues as a result of Tudou's claims, with several companies refusing to pay advertising fees and proposing contract cancellations.
Youku said it believes Tudou has engaged in commercial speculation and unfair competitive practices, asking the court to order Tudou to apologize and pay compensation to the tune of 4.8 million yuan (0.76 million U.S. dollars).
The dispute started when Tudou held a press conference on Dec. 16, 2011, announcing that the company would file a lawsuit against Youku regarding its use of the Taiwanese television show "Kangxi Has Come," the rights to which were previously obtained by Tudou. The company asked for 150 million yuan in compensation.
The dispute escalated several days later, when Youku accused Tudou of stealing its own programs. The companies have both accused each other of trying to use legal claims to gain a competitive edge.
According to the latest report released by the China Internet Network Information Center, the number of Chinese people who watched online videos in 2011 reached 325 million by the end of the year.
Although viewership has been soaring, online Chinese video providers have been losing money due to increasing costs for programming, marketing and bandwidth.