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Apple ordered to pay $165K in Chinese copyright dispute

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
A Chinese court on Thursday ordered Apple to pay 1.03 million yuan, roughly $165,000, to a group of writers who claimed their work was pirated and sold through the App Store.

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


A judge from Beijing's Second Intermediate People's Court found Apple to be liable for the sale of unlicensed works by eight local writers, which were repurposed as apps and distributed through the App Store, reports The Wall Street Journal. The fine will be meted out to the group of writers and two companies involved in the case.

Thursday's decision is far from the requested compensatory damages sought by the China Written Works Copyright Society (CWWCS), the group of eight writers which filed a revised claim in February asking for 23 million yuan ($3.65 million), or nearly double the original complaint's 11.9 million yuan ($1.89 million).

In response to the ruling, Apple said its employees "take copyright infringement complaints very seriously" and that the company is "always updating our service to better assist content owners in protecting their rights."

This is counter to previous assertions from CWWCS, which claimed Apple knew about the pirated versions since July 2011 and was slow to remove the offending apps from its online store. The Cupertino company supposedly told the group to contact the pirate app developers on their own, but the claims were not verified.

Thursday's outcome is the second Chinese copyright related loss for Apple in the past three months. In September, the same Beijing court ruled that the company must pay $82,600 for the sale of unauthorized digital copies of a popular Chinese language encyclopedia.
post #2 of 32

Ah the irony.

post #3 of 32
Samsung is smiling right now.
An Apple man since 1977
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post #4 of 32
....and the Chinese pirates who stole the copyrighted information, used it to create an App, and submitted it to Apple?
post #5 of 32

"An anonymous shipment of paper money from the Parker Brothers game Monopoly arrived at the doorstep of these complete idiots (sorry, I really can't say anything else about them than that) earlier this week. No clues as to the sender, but the amount totaled $165,000, in-game."


Originally Posted by leighr View Post
....and the Chinese pirates who stole the copyrighted information, used it to create an App, and submitted it to Apple?
 

They're receiving $165,000. Didn't you see the title? irked.gif

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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Originally posted by Relic

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post #6 of 32
After stealing American intellectual property for an extended period of time, it is ironic that the Chinese take offense when the roles are reversed. This is quite the double standard. However if China were to evenly apply copyright law, it would be good for them and good for the world.
post #7 of 32

millions of copycats in China, very few are held accountable for their IP crimes, especially the age of PP2s...

 

protectionism gone wrong in a judiciary system based on under the table incentives... 
 

mmmmmmmmmmmm....

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mmmmmmmmmmmm....

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post #8 of 32
Look at their smirking smile...........I smell rat for sure.
post #9 of 32

Apple is getting attacked in every corner of the world it seems... bad news flowing in non stop every day.  I dont remmeber RIMM taking such a beating while their bubble was bursting

post #10 of 32
Originally Posted by KingChael View Post
Apple is getting attacked in every corner of the world it seems... bad news flowing in non stop every day.  I dont remmeber RIMM taking such a beating while their bubble was bursting

 

See, Apple's "bubble" isn't bursting.

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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post #11 of 32
This may set a very dangerous precedent.

In general, a reseller is not responsible for copyright infringement unless they have been informed of such infringement. If Apple was not informed of the infringement, then they should not be held liable for the work that was sold through their store.

OTOH, if they were notified of the infringement and didn't do anything, then they can be held liable.

I don't see enough details in the story to know which is true, but if they were never notified, it creates enormous potential liabilities for anyone who does business with items that could be covered by IP.
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post #12 of 32
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post
In general, a reseller is not responsible for copyright infringement unless they have been informed of such infringement.

 

Yep, but this is Chinese court, not reality. And when it's China vs. anyone else in said court, it's evident who wins.

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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Originally posted by Relic

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post #13 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

This may set a very dangerous precedent.
In general, a reseller is not responsible for copyright infringement unless they have been informed of such infringement. If Apple was not informed of the infringement, then they should not be held liable for the work that was sold through their store.
OTOH, if they were notified of the infringement and didn't do anything, then they can be held liable.
I don't see enough details in the story to know which is true, but if they were never notified, it creates enormous potential liabilities for anyone who does business with items that could be covered by IP.

Supposedly they were informed but is Apple policy that those claiming ownership should first contact the developers and then contact Apple with some kind of proof otherwise one could make sure a claim just to jerk someone around and these writers didn't follow through with both.

Frankly I don't see much to worry about. Seems like the courts basically give Apple a slap on the wrist. Essentially forcing them to pay the writers the amount paid to the pirates as that is what they would have gotten if they had created the apps. But since they didn't follow through on the requests they don't get any statutory damages. Apple probably makes $165,000 at many stores every day. Certainly a big one like 5th Ave so it's not going to hurt them

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #14 of 32
Gotta love Chinese courts.

Gee guys, let's sue the store instead of the pirates!

Some amazing logic going on there...
post #15 of 32
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post
Frankly I don't see much to worry about. Seems like the courts basically give Apple a slap on the wrist. Apple probably makes $165,000 at many stores every day. Certainly a big one like 5th Ave so it's not going to hurt them

 

It's the principle. The perpetrators of this farce should be jailed and the legalites that allowed it to pass be disbarred. 

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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Originally posted by Relic

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post #16 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chairman Mao View Post

Look at their smirking smile...........I smell rat for sure.
What is sure is that the recurring bigotry and hatred over here is nauseating...
post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by KingChael View Post

Apple is getting attacked in every corner of the world it seems... bad news flowing in non stop every day.  I dont remmeber RIMM taking such a beating while their bubble was bursting

See, Apple's "bubble" isn't bursting.

What bubble? They create solid products, generate a steady income, are debt-free and with their 30+ years of experience and patents they look like there is no stopping them. No bubble detected at my end, there's nothing to inflate.

PS, TS, I'd take the dot out of your title; would flow better.
post #18 of 32

As long as Apple makes developers click an agreement testifying that they own or have rights to all IP in their product, they shouldn't be able to be held liable. Or if Apple are sued they should show the judge the agreement the developer agreed to and ask him to redirect the lawsuit towards the developer.

post #19 of 32
And these books don't exist on Android? Smells fishy...
Apple has no competition. Every commercial product which competes directly with an Apple product gives the distinct impression that, Where it is original, it is not good, and where it is good, it...
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Apple has no competition. Every commercial product which competes directly with an Apple product gives the distinct impression that, Where it is original, it is not good, and where it is good, it...
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post #20 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

As long as Apple makes developers click an agreement testifying that they own or have rights to all IP in their product, they shouldn't be able to be held liable.

They do. But when you are told that someone lied, every court will agree that at that point you are liable if you allow it to continue. Apple has rules about pulling apps for such claims and these writers either did not like this or felt it was too slow. The courts somewhat agreed and gave Apple a slap on the wrist for not having a faster process.
Edited by charlituna - 12/28/12 at 6:35am

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Try do. But when you are told that someone lied, every court will agree that at that point you are liable if you allow it to continue. Apple has rules about pulling apps for such claims and these writers either did not like this or felt it was too slow. The courts somewhat agreed and gave Apple a slap on the wrist for not having a faster process.

And if Apple had immediately pulled the apps, the developers would have sued and won for lack of due process. /s

Doing business in China is difficult, to say the least.
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post #22 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

And if Apple had immediately pulled the apps, the developers would have sued and won for lack of due process. /s
Doing business in China is difficult, to say the least.

If there was no form proof that the apps were violating anything sure, they likely would. Which is why Apple has the process they have.

As for your last bit, not just in China.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #23 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac Voyer View Post

And these books don't exist on Android? Smells fishy...

I don't find any mention by the CWWCS that those "pirated works' are available on GooglePlay. There have been ongoing discussions between Google, Chinese authors and their associations, including the one mentioned in this article on the Google Books project. I've not seen where there's a final agreement yet.

 

 

Ms. Hohne said that more than 50 Chinese publishers had agreed to allow 60,000 books to be included in the company’s scanning program.

Zhang Hongbo, the secretary general of the China Written Works Copyright Society, which manages Chinese copyrights, hailed the letter and the apology. “It is a result that all Chinese copyright holders have been waiting for,” he said. “We look forward to Google’s deeper understanding of this issue.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/12/technology/companies/12google.html?ref=technology&_r=0

 

edit: FWIW there's apparently other yet-unsettled lawsuits between Chinese authors and Apple with the same general allegations.  This article mentions several others:

http://shelf-life.ew.com/2012/03/19/apple-china-book-piracy-accusation/


Edited by Gatorguy - 12/28/12 at 7:16am
melior diabolus quem scies
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post #24 of 32
They can probably pull $165K out of the seat cushions at Apple HQ.
post #25 of 32

Apple has to pay for this infringement of others' copyrights. The Chinese are just playing Apple's way of suing other people. In this case, Apple was found to be infringing on other people's creation.


Edited by peter236 - 12/29/12 at 6:52am
post #26 of 32
Welcome to the Asian Century. Seriously, that's what all the Australian politicians are calling "our economic future".
post #27 of 32
Originally Posted by sr2012 View Post
Welcome to the Asian Century. Seriously, that's what all the Australian politicians are calling "our economic future".

 

You're over in that area; you're just paranoid about that sort of thing.

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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Originally posted by Relic

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post #28 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by 9secondko View Post

Gotta love Chinese courts.
Gee guys, let's sue the store instead of the pirates!
Some amazing logic going on there...


If you did not go through an Apple-curated AppStore, Apple wouldn't be at fault.

 

I feel 165k is not a hefty price to pay for the total control that Apple enjoys over what can run on the iPhone. No sex-related on the AppStore, because Apple considers its role to protect poor little JimmyJoe from himself. If Apple can prevent me from suffering terrible brain damage due to using a sex-related app, Apple definitely should prevent me from using a stolen app.

 

Obviously, YOMV.

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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post #29 of 32
Originally Posted by lightknight View Post
If you did not go through an Apple-curated AppStore, Apple wouldn't be at fault.

 

They're not at fault NOW, by LAW.

Originally posted by Relic

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Originally posted by Relic

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post #30 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by leighr View Post

....and the Chinese pirates who stole the copyrighted information, used it to create an App, and submitted it to Apple?

 

I bet dollars to donuts that it's some cousin of the band in question. I could see liability if the copyright holder caught the infraction and informed Apple and Apple did not comply. But really -- people can download this music off the web -- it's not like China doesn't turn a blind eye to copyright violations on the street (though they may have changed this). It's a minor nuisance fee -- but I don't LIKE the approach of such a lawsuit. It would mean that if I put something on YouTube, that YouTube would be sued -- so that means THAT COMPANY gets more involved in the content, which ruins the experience. Copyright violators should be responsible and THEN, only AFTER someone makes the abuse known should the CARRIER be liable -- not instead of or before.
post #31 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by lightknight View Post

If you did not go through an Apple-curated AppStore, Apple wouldn't be at fault.

I feel 165k is not a hefty price to pay for the total control that Apple enjoys over what can run on the iPhone. No sex-related on the AppStore, because Apple considers its role to protect poor little JimmyJoe from himself. If Apple can prevent me from suffering terrible brain damage due to using a sex-related app, Apple definitely should prevent me from using a stolen app.

Obviously, YOMV.

That's the thing... When a "curated" App Store keeps curating into the store sub-par apps, what's the point of curating anymore? Sure, it keeps out porn, but you don't need hardcore (pun unintended) curation to merely prevent 18+ material, you can keep things relatively open, and just keep some sort of monitoring and filtering by Apple. This is different from "closed" and "curated".

I'm not saying Apple doesn't have the best App Store in the world, I'm just saying the pressure to approve apps no doubt has impacted overall quality.

On Android it can be chaotic but Google's Play Store system does help good apps shine on their own merit with a lot of customer feedback and interaction. PicsArt for example, coming to iOS soon from Android. Aqua Mail, a very, very sophisticated mail app... not that "pretty" but extremely feature-rich. And of course all the major apps are cross-platform anyway.

So the question is... Why me curate? (with apologies to Mad magazine)
Quote:
Originally Posted by 9secondko View Post

Gotta love Chinese courts.
Gee guys, let's sue the store instead of the pirates!
Some amazing logic going on there...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fake_William_Shatner View Post

I bet dollars to donuts that it's some cousin of the band in question. I could see liability if the copyright holder caught the infraction and informed Apple and Apple did not comply. But really -- people can download this music off the web -- it's not like China doesn't turn a blind eye to copyright violations on the street (though they may have changed this).It's a minor nuisance fee -- but I don't LIKE the approach of such a lawsuit. It would mean that if I put something on YouTube, that YouTube would be sued -- so that means THAT COMPANY gets more involved in the content, which ruins the experience.Copyright violators should be responsible and THEN, only AFTER someone makes the abuse known should the CARRIER be liable -- not instead of or before.

This is what people don't get about Asia and keep calling me racist... The ethics and "social norms" are nothing like that which has been carefully cultured in the West over a millenium, through some horrible times, but coming out with the best quality of life humans have ~ever~ achieved thus far*. When it comes to Asia, let alone the Middle East, you are not going to see the same thing, not at least until 2035-2050 when Asia "evolves" like the West did from the Dark Ages, Renaissance, WW1, WW2, Cold War, and so on.

*Don't give me the "oh, everything is chilled out and happy in Asia"... Spend some time in KL, Jakarta, Manila, Shanghai, Bangkok... Fun if you're an expat but grow up even middle-class in those cities and get back to me.
Edited by sr2012 - 12/30/12 at 1:57am
post #32 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by sr2012 View Post

That's the thing... When a "curated" App Store keeps curating into the store sub-par apps, what's the point of curating anymore? Sure, it keeps out porn, but you don't need hardcore (pun unintended) curation to merely prevent 18+ material, you can keep things relatively open, and just keep some sort of monitoring and filtering by Apple. This is different from "closed" and "curated".
I'm not saying Apple doesn't have the best App Store in the world, I'm just saying the pressure to approve apps no doubt has impacted overall quality.
On Android it can be chaotic but Google's Play Store system does help good apps shine on their own merit with a lot of customer feedback and interaction. PicsArt for example, coming to iOS soon from Android. Aqua Mail, a very, very sophisticated mail app... not that "pretty" but extremely feature-rich. And of course all the major apps are cross-platform anyway.
So the question is... Why me curate? (with apologies to Mad magazine)

It's simply a matter of what they're blocking.

First, Apple blocks unauthorized use of private APIs. That's very easy to automate and takes little manpower. By blocking private APIs, they help to ensure more robust apps.

Second, they block porn. While it's not easy to automate that, it's easy enough to verify if someone complains, so again, the manpower requirements are small.

Third, they scan for known malware.

Finally, they enforce companies following Apple policies. Again, not that time consuming to enforce - particularly after someone reports something.

Those things are designed to ensure safe, reliable apps that do not interfere with the rest of the system. It's all about user experience.

OTOH, policing content would be nearly impossible. I can't even imagine how large a team it would take to look at every app submitted and verify that nothing in that App was plagiarized. It would be a Herculean task - if it were possible at all. It would be impossible to guarantee that nothing in your App Store was ever plagiarized - just as it would be impossible for a book store owner to verify that none of the books on their shelves ever had any plagiarized material. It's just not possible.

What IS possible is for Apple to investigate complaints after they have been received and determine if something involving a very specific complaint is plagiarized - and they do that.

The questions in the China case are whether they do it fast enough or with too much work required on the part of the person whose work is being plagiarized and whether Chinese law allows someone to be held liable for an infringement that they didn't know about.
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