Apple fined for copyright violation in China

The court ordered Apple to pay 1.03 million yuan ($165,908) to eight Chinese writers and two companies for violating their copyrights, China’s official news agency Xinhua reported on Thursday.

The writers sued Apple for hosting third-party applications containing unlicensed electronic versions of their books on its App Store, which were available for download last year, Xinhua said.

According to their lawyers, the writers said they lost large amounts of money while creating profit for the application developers due to the electronic books being downloaded in great quantities.

The court found that Apple violated the authors’ “right of communication through information networks,” part of China’s Copyright Law, by selling unlicensed electronic versions of the books, Xinhua said.

At the original hearing in October, the Chinese news agency reported that the writers had demanded a total compensation of 10 million yuan ($1.6 million) from Apple for violating the copyrights of their 34 works.

Apple defended itself at that hearing by saying it was not the proper defendant, and that the applications’ developers should stand trial instead.

The California-based company requires its developers to sign an agreement confirming they own the rights to any material they release apps for sale on its online store.

Apple also claimed there had no been violations after it pulled the applications in question from the App store, and therefore should no longer need to pay the compensation, Xinhua said.

In a written statement, Apple said its employees “take copyright infringement complaints very seriously” and was listening to input from writers’ groups.

The world’s most valuable technology company has been involved in several legal disputes in China in 2012.

In July, a Chinese court ordered Apple to pay $60 million in compensation to Proview, a Hong Kong-based company to settle a dispute over the iPad trademark in China.

According to Xinhua, Apple is appealing a September decision by a Beijing court that ordered it to pay 520,000 yuan to a Chinese encyclopedia publisher for alleged copyright infringements.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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