Chinese court tells Apple to pay Chinese writers over copyright infringement case

One of China’s papers reported that Apple had illegally sold books of some Chinese authors and was ordered to pay a certain amount. Apple was sued by a group of Chinese authors over copyright infringement after the group discovered that their books were sold without permission in Apple’s App Store. A judge based in Beijing demanded that Apple pay the authors to compensate for their claims.

It is not immediately clear how the writers will be paid though. The China Daily said that Apple was ordered to pay a  total of 412, 000 yuan, translating to $66,000, while the Wall Street Journal writes that the Cupertino-based firm was told to pay 1.03 million yuan, or around $165,000.

Mac Observer noted that pirates sold the books to Apple without seeking permission from the writers themselves. The authors involved are among China’s best sellers and most popular.

Wall Street Journal reported that Apple does not tolerate piracy and that the company ensures that the rights of content owners like writers and authors are upheld all the time.

The ruling happens in the midst of the China’s crackdown of massive piracy and trademark issues in the country. Chinese government officials announced last Monday that laws will be amended to address “malicious” trademark registrations that encourages local businesses to misuse popular names and brands in the country. The changes in the law would give more power to trademark owners, which would allow them to request for product bans if their logos and names are used without permission.

Apple had been hit by lawsuits from China a few times already. The first lawsuit was from Proview, when the China-based company sued the American tech giant over the iPad trademark. Apple had to settle for $60 million over the case after Proview filed numerous lawsuits in China requesting to ban Apple’s tablet from stores, as well as order Apple from using the iPad trademark on its widely popular line of products. Following that case was another lawsuit from Jiangsu Xuebao, which claimed that Apple infringed on its “Snow Leopard” trademark. The most desirable company in the world was also accused of patent infringement issues over its Siri voice technology and Facetime software.

Last September, Apple was also ordered to pay 520,000 yuan to Chinese encyclopedia publisher for violating copyright.

The latest lawsuit involving Apple’s App Store was filed earlier in the year and was entertained by the court in October. The judge’s ruling ordered Apple to stop the distribution of the books immediately. China Daily hinted that the authors involved in the case may appeal the ruling because of the low compensation fee being ordered.

The group originally asked for 10 million yuan in damages claims, according to Chinese news agency Xinhua.

China is becoming a significant market for Apple as its products are well received by the country’s middle class.

The company’s China sales was reportedly $5.7 billion for the fiscal quarter that ended last September, translating to about 16 percent of the company’s total global sales.

source: cnet

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