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Apple loses again in Chinese App Store copyright case

Beijing judge throws the book at Cupertino as writers triumph

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Apple has lost another copyright case in China after it was held responsible for content third parties uploaded to the bookish corner of its App Store.

The company was ordered to pay three Chinese writers more than 730,000 yuan (£76,600) in compensation after allowing their content to be uploaded and sold on the App Store without first seeking permission, according to China Daily.

Judge Feng Gang of Beijing’ No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court ruled that Apple must take responsibility for content uploaded to its app platform by third parties and ensure it complies with copyright laws.

"The writers involved this time include Mai Jia, whose books are often on best-seller lists across the country," he is quoted as saying.

"In this way, Apple has the capability to know the uploaded books on its online store violated the writer's copyright."

Other tech firms running similar application ecosystems were apparently warned not to make the same mistakes as Apple.

This is by no means the first time the fruit-themed device maker has been in legal hot water over copyright claims in China and it won't be the last.

In December last year the same court ordered Cupertino's Middle Kingdom outpost to send 1.03m yuan (£102,000) to eight Chinese writers – who collectively formed the China Written Works Copyright Society (CWWCS) – after their works were published on the App Store without their permission.

Previous to that, it was fined 520,000 yuan (£54,500) after apps containing pirated versions of a popular Chinese encyclopaedia found their way onto the online store.

Back in November a Taiwanese writer and film director explained that he had been branded an “idiot” by Apple staff in Hong Kong after flying to the SAR to persuade the firm to remove copyright-infringing apps containing his content.

Apple couldn’t immediately be reached for comment but has in the past claimed it takes "copyright infringement complaints very seriously" and is always looking for ways to help content owners better protect their rights.

It's been a month to forget for Apple in China, after the firm was first forced to make a grovelling apology to its Chinese fanbois over "unfair" warranty terms.

Later, new research claimed that more than half of local iPhone 5 owners are considering switching to a Galaxy S4, and then state-run rag The People’s Daily accused it of breaking local obscenity laws over App Store content.®

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