"Yahoo must use its multiple websites and services to gain a stronger position in social networking."
-- Jeff Weiner, executive VP, Yahoo's Networking divison

Can you gain a position in social networking simply by having, making, buying and promoting social web sites?

On the same day (April 24) that Yahoo announced Yahoo Music will include a searchable lyrics database, a Chinese court ruled that Yahoo China violates music copyrights.

The suit, filed by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), claimed Yahoo China made copyrighted songs available for download, taking special offense to Yahoo China's music search engine which "induces and facilitates" the search of music tracks and their subsequent playback or download for free from within Yahoo China's Web site, according to an IFPI spokesman.

Just five days earlier Yahoo US was sued for helping arrest a Chinese political "dissident". "Dissident" here is defined as one who promotes democracy, an act which, once Yahoo China helped identify him to authorities, has got him a 10 year jail sentence.

Lucie Morillon, director Reporters Without Borders, says Yahoo could avoid giving user information to Chinese officials by moving its computer servers used for e-mail out of that country.

"It is one thing to let Chinese authorities censor; helping put cyber-dissidents in jails is quite another story."

Although Yahoo is good at that too; censorship. In fact, in China it's the best! Yahoo is China's strictest censor, outdoing Bejing-authorized, China-based Baidu.com.

Online Policy Group probably isn't that surprised. For a while they documented Yahoo US censorship.