Tokyo-based Kodansha Ltd. said Wednesday it has warned Chinese search engine giant Baidu that unless it deletes from its library site manga and novels the firm publishes, it may resort to legal action.

Other large publishing houses are also demanding that Baidu Japan Inc. remove content provided in its Baidu Library file-sharing service, where users can share and browse various documents free of charge.

Popular Kodansha manga, including Kaiji Kawaguchi’s “Zipang” and Shuichi Shigeno’s “Initial D,” as well as novels by best-selling author Natsuhiko Kyogoku can be browsed and downloaded from Baidu Library, which as of noon Wednesday said it had 250,407 documents stored on its site.

Baidu Library features nine categories ranging from lifestyle- and culture-related documents to R-18 pornographic material. Novels and manga from other well-known publishers, including Shogakukan Inc. and Kadokawa Group Publishing Co., were also available at the site, as well as Japanese-published TOEIC study guides and fashion magazines.

A Shogakukan representative said the firm found 313 documents it published on the site and added Baidu was e-mailed a demand to delete the files.

The representative said Baidu has begun deleting some of the material, but noted further measures may be considered if illegal uploading of the publisher’s content continues.

Shueisha Inc., which publishes the hugely popular “One Piece” comic series, said Wednesday it has repeatedly demanded Baidu delete illegal content whenever any is found.

A representative for Baidu Japan, based in Minato Ward, Tokyo, said Wednesday that in response to Kodansha’s request, the portal is currently verifying and deleting documents that belong to the publisher and said it plans to strengthen its screening.

Baidu Library’s guidelines state that it forbids users from uploading documents that violate copyrights, and reserves the right to remove any document if so demanded by the publisher.

A Kodansha representative said Wednesday the company had not yet heard back from Baidu, adding it would wait for a response before deciding how to proceed.

In a statement Tuesday, Kodansha said: “Baidu’s illegal uploads that ignore copyrights are not only an outrage to Kodansha but to the entire Japanese publishing industry. We strongly demand the deletion (of documents), and will be forced to consider taking legal measures if the situation fails to improve.”

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