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Chinese writers double request for damages in Apple piracy suit

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 
In a revision to a December filing, nine Chinese writers claiming that Apple has been selling pirated versions of their work on its App Store nearly doubled the amount they are demanding from the company, and now seek a compensatory payout of over $3.6 million.

The group of writers, who filed the revised claim in Beijing's Second Intermediate People's Court on Wednesday under the name China Written Works Copyright Society (CWWCS), allege that unlicensed copies of their books have been repurposed as apps and are being sold through Apple's App Store, reports Macworld.

CWWCS is now asking for 23 million yuan ($3.65 million), or nearly double the 11.9 million yuan ($1.89 million) in damages that was first sought as part of the original complaint. The inflation of damages stems in part from new evidence that an additional 26 infringing products had been added to the App Store following the initial lawsuit.

In a January hearing, CWWCS claimed that when the Cupertino, Calif., company was notified about the pirated content, it was slow to remove the offending products and in some cases refused to delete the content altogether. The group said that Apple has known about the problem since July, 2011.

Executive for CWWCS, Bei Zhicheng, said that Apple allegedly allowed the sale of 59 unauthorized apps which featured content produced by the nine members. He claims that the iPad maker told the authors to contact the pirate developers and resolve the issue on their own.


Author Murong Xuecun, left, and CWWCS Executive Bei Zhicheng. | Source: The Asahi Shimbun


Just as it does with all iTunes sales, Apple takes a 30 percent cut from each App Store purchase, and the company recently announced over $4 billion has been paid out to app developers as of the first quarter of 2012.

In total, CWWCS estimates the infringing apps have been downloaded over one million times.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



In total, CWWCS estimates the infringing apps have been downloaded over one million times.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]

It wasn't me, I swear.
post #3 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

unlicensed copies of their books have been repurposed as apps and are being sold through Apple's App Store, reports Macworld.

If Apple were forced to be certain that the products it sells are not illegal, it might lower their profits.
post #4 of 54
Chinese authors claim damages from Apple over alleged copyright violations? The irony of this situation seems to escape them.

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post #5 of 54
Have these authors; 1) Gone after the people/companies that submitted the apps to the store? 2) Has it been decided in court that the apps are stolen or copies of their works?

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post #6 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Chinese authors double demands in Apple copyright suit

In a revision to a December filing, nine Chinese writers claiming that Apple has been selling pirated versions of their work on its App Store nearly doubled the amount they are demanding from the company, and now seek a compensatory payout of over $3.6 million.

The group of writers, who filed the revised claim in Beijing's Second Intermediate People's Court on Wednesday under the name China Written Works Copyright Society (CWWCS), allege that unlicensed copies of their books have been repurposed as apps and are being sold through Apple's App Store, reports Macworld.

CWWCS is now asking for 23 million yuan ($3.65 million), or nearly double the 11.9 million yuan ($1.89 million) in damages that was first sought as part of the original complaint. The inflation of damages stems in part from new evidence that an additional 26 infringing products had been added to the App Store following the initial lawsuit.

In a January hearing, CWWCS claimed that when the Cupertino, Calif., company was notified about the pirated content, it was slow to remove the offending products and in some cases refused to delete the content altogether. The group said that Apple has known about the problem since July, 2011.

Executive for CWWCS, Bei Zhicheng, said that Apple allegedly allowed the sale of 59 unauthorized apps which featured content produced by the nine members. He claims that the iPad maker told the authors to contact the pirate developers and resolve the issue on their own.


Author Murong Xuecun, left, and CWWCS Executive Bei Zhicheng. | Source: The Asahi Shimbun


In total, CWWCS estimates the infringing apps have been downloaded over one million times.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]

But I guess I cannot blame them for trying to get rich!

But how in the he77 did they come up with over 3million bucks?

They "estimated" that the app were downloaded up to 1 million times... Which translates to "THEY DONT HAVE A CLUE" how many times it was downloaded...

And how do they determine that over 3 million bucks worth od content was pirated?

And how do they figure Apple is responsible? What if these were not downloaded in china?

Geez so many people hoping Apple will just pay out instead of fighting... but they are wrong! This one is a bust!!!
post #7 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

If Apple were forced to be certain that the products it sells are not illegal, it might lower their profits.

This is not Apples problem. These people should go after the people who stole their works. This is just a waste of time for Apple.
post #8 of 54
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Originally Posted by jumper View Post

This is not Apples problem. These people should go after the people who stole their works. This is just a waste of time for Apple.

I agree that these people need to go after those people who actually stole their works.

My next comment is not in regards to this case, but it is more of a general statement. I do believe that Apple has an obligation to remove blatant copyright violations from their Appstore.

Unless I'm missing some facts about this case, I'd say that it was a pretty big blunder on Apple's part to allow that fake Pokemon app which was recently on their Appstore and which some sites have been reporting about. How did Apple miss that one? They need to tighten up their review process IMO.
post #9 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Realistic View Post

Have these authors; 1) Gone after the people/companies that submitted the apps to the store? 2) Has it been decided in court that the apps are stolen or copies of their works?

Apple is neither a court or a judge.

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post #10 of 54
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Originally Posted by Realistic View Post

Apple is neither a court or a judge.

It could turn out it's a reseller of stolen goods though, and by picking a 30% share, an accomplice.
post #11 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I agree that these people need to go after those people who actually stole their works.

My next comment is not in regards to this case, but it is more of a general statement. I do believe that Apple has an obligation to remove blatant copyright violations from their Appstore.

Unless I'm missing some facts about this case, I'd say that it was a pretty big blunder on Apple's part to allow that fake Pokemon app which was recently on their Appstore and which some sites have been reporting about. How did Apple miss that one? They need to tighten up their review process IMO.

You get into a slippery slope pretty quickly. Apple's 30% cut makes them a distributor, and they should bear some of the risk. It seems like what should happen is that the developers' accounts be frozen, and any payments (to Apple or the developer) be frozen until the case is resolved.
post #12 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by jumper View Post

This is not Apples problem. These people should go after the people who stole their works. This is just a waste of time for Apple.

to a degree it is Apple's problem. IF they are allowing confirmed infringing materials to be sold then they are party to the infringement.

So I ask the question, has it been confirmed that the items were infringing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Unless I'm missing some facts about this case, I'd say that it was a pretty big blunder on Apple's part to allow that fake Pokemon app which was recently on their Appstore and which some sites have been reporting about. How did Apple miss that one? They need to tighten up their review process IMO.

When you submit an app one of the conditions you are agreeing to is that you have obtained all necessary legal permissions required for your app and its contents. And that Apple is not liable if you are lying.

These copycats agreed to this condition and lied (apparently). Apple would only be liable if it was proven they lied and did nothing.

so my question again. Has it been proven

And in regards to the additional apps, did they infringe on the same materials or new ones. Because allegations of copying would be item specific and Apple would response to that item. They are not required to then check every app against every property of these groups to make sure nothing else was copied. And they shouldn't be liable for such checks. Which is why they told the group that just complaining to Apple isn't enough, they need to go after the actual groups doing the copying using all their local legal rights.

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post #13 of 54
I would do the same thing if I were them. I'm not sure they will be awarded the full amount they asking for, but if Apple is making money off illegal products, at the very least they should be accountable for profits they made. (~30% per copy)

Apple cannot be "responsible" for all products sold, but they can be accountable. Once they were alerted to this, they should have acted quickly to investigate and by not doing so, they should be liable. (Assuming, that the copyright violations are legit. I presume this is for one of those book compilations.)

Unlike, some of the patent trolls, copyright owners have a real case. And unlike youtube per se, Apple has an approval prices for applications, so they actually have exercise necessary control.
post #14 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Chinese authors claim damages from Apple over alleged copyright violations? The irony of this situation seems to escape them.

I was thinking exactly the same lol
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post #15 of 54
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Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

When you submit an app one of the conditions you are agreeing to is that you have obtained all necessary legal permissions required for your app and its contents. And that Apple is not liable if you are lying.

These copycats agreed to this condition and lied (apparently). Apple would only be liable if it was proven they lied and did nothing.

so my question again. Has it been proven

I see your point. But just to play devil's advocate, let's say that the developers of that pirated Pokemon app did indeed lie about it. Shouldn't Apple still have caught that lie, especially when it is such a blatant and easy lie to catch? Doesn't everybody know that Pokemon is connected to Nintendo? Apple at least should have definitely known that.
post #16 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Realistic View Post

Apple is neither a court or a judge.

If someone ripped off an application written by Apple, they'd be pulled. In a physical store setting, if someone was stocking software that was copied without consent, it would get pulled too. It's just a matter of if these guys can show that this is their IP. The article doesn't mention much, and a quick google search does not amount to thorough research on the topic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jumper View Post

This is not Apples problem. These people should go after the people who stole their works. This is just a waste of time for Apple.

You say that, and yet had these guys ripped off something made by Apple, your attitude might be different. If these guys can suitably prove their work was pirated, it should be enough to pull an app at the very least. Look at other things that have caused apps to go away. Obviously if there's any credibility, Apple should at least respond.
post #17 of 54
This is ridiculous, Apple's 30% cut pays for the software and hardware necessary for the store to run. They've always been clear that they operate barely above break even when it comes to iTunes.

Furthermore, Apple is not a copyright enforcing body, they have no responsibility to enforce copyrights, the producer of material is responsible. Otherwise Proview would be suing every entity in China that sells iPads, not Apple. But that's another story for earlier today...
post #18 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

It could turn out it's a reseller of stolen goods though, and by picking a 30% share, an accomplice.

Uh-oh. Slippery slope ahead. It could turn out that if the reseller of stolen goods paid income taxes on their 70% share, it makes the government an accomplice.

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John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #19 of 54
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Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Uh-oh. Slippery slope ahead. It could turn out that if the reseller of stolen goods paid income taxes on their 70% share, it makes the government an accomplice.

You know many bank robbers who count their multi-million dollar takes as 'income'?

Just saying.
post #20 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

to a degree it is Apple's problem. IF they are allowing confirmed infringing materials to be sold then they are party to the infringement.

If you buy a copy, are you a party to the infringement?

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #21 of 54
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Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

If you buy a copy, are you a party to the infringement?

Would it matter if you had previously been told the product was stolen?
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post #22 of 54


Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlosViscarra View Post

But I guess I cannot blame them for trying to get rich!

But how in the he77 did they come up with over 3million bucks?

They "estimated" that the app were downloaded up to 1 million times... Which translates to "THEY DONT HAVE A CLUE" how many times it was downloaded...

And how do they determine that over 3 million bucks worth od content was pirated?

And how do they figure Apple is responsible? What if these were not downloaded in china?

Geez so many people hoping Apple will just pay out instead of fighting... but they are wrong! This one is a bust!!!

They're called "smiling idiots."
post #23 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Realistic View Post

Apple is neither a court or a judge.

Yes, but under U.S. law (may not apply to content not copyrighted in the U.S.), websites and online companies must responsibly respond to "take-down" notices. While this process can be misused, the best thing for any company to do is to take the content down until ownership is resolved.

I haven't looked at the app store licensing terms recently, but my bet is that developers have to indemnify Apple against any such claims.

I'm sure these authors simply see a rich company and are hoping for a settlement. But Apple can't give it to them even if the cost of settling is far less than the cost of taking it to court because it would open up a Pandora's Box of thousands of claims and lawsuits.

But you never know how the Chinese courts will rule.
post #24 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

You know many bank robbers who count their multi-million dollar takes as 'income'?

Just saying.

You know bank robbers?
post #25 of 54
Apple... the great cash cow.

It used to be that people had to actually emigrate to the US in their quest to live the American dream. Now they just call a lawyer.
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post #26 of 54
This is a very new Chinese trend in which "rule of law" is being used as an extraction device to take money from non-Chinese interests, and put that money in the hands of Chinese interests. To a Chinese government official, doing that as much as possible (and accepting kickbacks) is not dishonest, it is simply loyalty to country over foreigners, who aren't really human at all, really.
post #27 of 54
There are several arguments posted here in an effort to suggest who is most culpable. Interestingly, China has no qualms about patent and copyright infringements of computer hardware and software from the rest of the world.
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post #28 of 54
There are some here accusing Apple of being complicit to some degree for an (allegedly) Pokemon infringement or drawing the analogy that if someone published an (allegedly) infringing Apple app that Apple would yank it off the Store or shelf.

For the infringing Apple app,..First, they would know without question if that app is infringing or not; it's their own company. It's also Apple app store; they can do what they want, within reason.

For the alleged Pokemon infringement, Apple doesn't know if it's true infringement or not, because they don't own the trademark or copyright. Suppose Pokemon's owner (Nintendo, I guess) contracted out the work to this other company. Apple doesn't know that and shouldn't be required to do the dirty work to find out. That's why the rightful trademark/copyright owner must reach out to the infringer first, then if uncooperative, let the courts deal with it. And I think some method to freeze the submitter's app store account or temporarily remove the app after a judge agrees the case isn't frivolous. The point is for trademarks/copyrights Apple doesn't hold the company cannot assume to know the agreements/contracts made and not made.

The only time I would think Apple should have to fork over some cash is if they were found to absolutely know (as in a court order or decision) they were distributing infringing apps.
post #29 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by repentantfan View Post

The only time I would think Apple should have to fork over some cash is if they were found to absolutely know (as in a court order or decision) they were distributing infringing apps.

Do you feel the same way about those guys who sell pirated DVDs on street corners?
post #30 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I see your point. But just to play devil's advocate, let's say that the developers of that pirated Pokemon app did indeed lie about it. Shouldn't Apple still have caught that lie, especially when it is such a blatant and easy lie to catch? Doesn't everybody know that Pokemon is connected to Nintendo? Apple at least should have definitely known that.

But you can imagine what Apple would have to train each member of its app review staff to do? Its not clear-cut. Not EVERY person knows a thing about Pokemon, and not every person knows what companies Nintendo does and does not work with. Its completely impractical to have this (and every other) app investigated on a legal level when it is submitted. That would be great I suppose, but not possible. Instead, investigation (or even banning without investigation!) follows after a complaint is made.
post #31 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

Do you feel the same way about those guys who sell pirated DVDs on street corners?

Yes, because they are in a position that they are knowingly selling pirated DVDs. Apple is not.
post #32 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Realistic View Post

Apple is neither a court or a judge.

Which is why Realistic asked the question you responded to.
post #33 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwik View Post

This is a very new Chinese trend in which "rule of law" is being used as an extraction device to take money from non-Chinese interests, and put that money in the hands of Chinese interests. To a Chinese government official, doing that as much as possible (and accepting kickbacks) is not dishonest, it is simply loyalty to country over foreigners, who aren't really human at all, really.

Yeah, in the USA no one thinks that way, especially not the government.
post #34 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

It's just a matter of if these guys can show that this is their IP.

And they show that by going to court and suing the people who did send it to the app store.
Quote:
If these guys can suitably prove their work was pirated, it should be enough to pull an app at the very least

Exactly. Whoever released it will simply say it is their own, original works.
Proving who's it is, is up to the courts.
post #35 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I agree that these people need to go after those people who actually stole their works.

My next comment is not in regards to this case, but it is more of a general statement. I do believe that Apple has an obligation to remove blatant copyright violations from their Appstore.

Unless I'm missing some facts about this case, I'd say that it was a pretty big blunder on Apple's part to allow that fake Pokemon app which was recently on their Appstore and which some sites have been reporting about. How did Apple miss that one? They need to tighten up their review process IMO.

Apple's review process is not set up to filter for plagiarism. I don't know if such a thing is even possible with Chinese works that may not be available to check on if there is no central database. Furthermore the works in question were not submitted to Apple as an iBook, but as an application.

To Chinese it appears that they are not above requesting outrageous damages in the millions and billions and counting on the bribed judges backing up their claims with only a wink at the rule of law.

In a society of law (which China barely is) the writers would need to send Apple a legal document requesting the applications be removed and showing that they are the legal copyright holders. Without that proof of ownership Apple is not able to act. However, once that proof has been met, THEN it becomes Apple's responsibility to remove the content and charge back the thief.

Short of the writer's works being well know, like a Harry Potter story, no one could necessarily catch that the claimed owner is not the real owner.
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post #36 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Chinese authors claim damages from Apple over alleged copyright violations? The irony of this situation seems to escape them.

They care not for our copyrights, how does it feel to be violated too? Enjoy!
post #37 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Uh-oh. Slippery slope ahead. It could turn out that if the reseller of stolen goods paid income taxes on their 70% share, it makes the government an accomplice.

And if you drove on a street, or over a bridge, built by the government with those taxes, etc., then YOU are an accomplice!
post #38 of 54
When Amway first started doing business in China, they offered the same generous satisfaction guaranteed, no questions asked warranty on their products.

Soon they started getting people who would come in with sacks of empty Amway cleaning product containers demanding full refunds, no questions asked, for each empty bottle. And they had no choice but to comply until they finally changed their refund policies in China.

It appears the same apparent brazenness is going on here. But I would not comment on the moral angle, I would just say all cultures are different.
post #39 of 54
Chinese learnt how to sue now.
post #40 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by marokero View Post

They care not for our copyrights, how does it feel to be violated too? Enjoy!

I agree, China has blatantly copied/produced/sold products for some time. So why should they get the upper hand. The Chinese government isnt clamping down on counterfeit items it seems here in Shanghai. My Chinese co-workers call themselves a 'nation of photocopiers'.

Across the street I see a Toyota Surf, looks identical including the bull bar, But made by a local car maker that I cant figure out as it looks like the Infinity logo branded 'Safe' (Big letters along both doors just like the original Surf logo)..... Infinity Safe?
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