A Chinese court has ordered Apple to pay three Chinese writers the amount of $118,000 for violation of their copyright over their works.
Judge Feng Gang of Beijings No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court ruled this week that Apple had not secured the proper permissions from the three writers before selling their books in Apple’s App Store. The books were apparently uploaded by a third party and sold without the proceeds going to the authors or their publishers. Feng deemed it Apple’s responsibility to follow up on the books uploaded to its store in order to avoid copyright violation, according to China Daily (via ZDNet).
“The writers involved this time include Mai Jia, whose books are often on bestseller lists across the country,” Feng said. “In this way, Apple has the capability to know the uploaded books on its online store violated the writers’ copyright.”
Feng said that other tech companies should be sure to take note of the ruling, and adjust their verification systems if they wished to avoid similar payouts. Industry observers seem pessimistic that companies will take this as a lesson learned. Only the larger content sellers are targeted, they say, leaving the smaller infringers to carry on with business as usual. Apple was only fined $118,000, a relatively small amount in a case like this, so it might not be worth hiring personnel to verify each title as it comes into their systems.
This was the second such lawsuit Apple has faced in China in recent times. In December, a group of eight writers won a $165,000 judgement in a case brought by the China Written Works Copyright Society, who alleged that Apple had known about pirated copies of their works since July of 2011 and had been slow to remove the infringing apps. The writers had asked for $3.65 million.