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Chinese court orders Apple to cough £100k to writers for violating copyright

Fruity tech maker comes a cropper in China

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Apple got a nasty post-Christmas present in China on Thursday when a Beijing court hit it with a 1.03m yuan (£102,000) fine after ruling the fruity tech titan was responsible for applications which appeared on its App Store containing unlicensed content.

The Beijing No 2 Intermediate People's Court concluded that Apple had violated China’s Copyright Law and ordered it to cough up to the plaintiffs – eight Chinese writers who formed the China Written Works Copyright Society (CWWCS) in a bid to get compensation.

The decision, while a victory for the eight and two separate companies, was far lower than the 23 million yuan (£2.3m) claim they filed back in February, according to Apple Insider.

They had apparently claimed that Apple knew about the illegal content for some time but dragged its heels over removing the apps and told them to contact the pirate app developers themselves.

This isn’t the first time Apple has been targeted by Chinese authors seeking compensation for apps containing unlicensed copies of their works.

Back in March it emerged that the Writers’ Rights Alliance of 22 authors filed a 50 million yuan (£5m) lawsuit relating to 95 books allegedly sold illegally on the App Store.

Then in November a Taiwanese writer and film director revealed how he had been branded an “idiot” by Apple staff in Hong Kong after flying to the region to confront them over a long-running copyright saga.

Once again, the issue revolved around the author trying and failing to get Cupertino to remove copyright-infringing apps containing his content.

A spokeswoman for Apple told the BBC that the company takes "copyright infringement complaints very seriously".

"We're always updating our service to better assist content owners in protecting their rights," she added. ®

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