Chinese court rules Apple must pay over $82K to encyclopedia publisher over App Store piracy

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A Chinese court ruled in favor of the venerable Encyclopedia of China Publishing House in its suit against Apple which asserted the Cupertino company was liable for the sale of unauthorized digital copies of its encyclopedia found on the App Store.



The publisher originally asked for RMB 530,000, or about $84,200, however the final judgment handed down on Thursday by Beijing's Second Intermediate People?s Court came out to a slightly less RMB 520,000, or $82,600 win for the publishing house, reports the Beijing Times.

First filed in 2010, the suit claimed apps being sold through Apple's App Store contained pirated versions of the copy-written encyclopedia. In its defense, Apple argued that it had no involvement in the development of the third-party apps, but the court ruled the company was responsible as it both approved and profited from the apps' sale.

?The App Store offers customers in China access to an incredible selection of over 700,000 apps created by Apple?s developer community," an Apple representative told The Next Web. "As an IP holder ourselves, Apple understands the importance of protecting intellectual property and when we receive complaints, as we did in this case, we respond promptly and appropriately.?

Thursday's case is similar to another Chinese suit in which nine writers claim Apple allowed pirated versions of their work to be sold through the App Store. In February, the group nearly doubled its compensatory demands, and is now asking for $3.65 million after an another 26 allegedly infringing products were added to the store.

Apple recently settled a drawn out dispute between defunct Chinese display maker Proview over the "iPad" moniker, ultimately paying out $60 million for rights to the trademark.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50
    The $60 million settlement was a huge mistake of Apple. Apple could negotiate with terrorists but shouldn't have negotiated about terrorism ever. Apple emboldened more terrorists to try the same thing.
  • Reply 2 of 50
    successsuccess Posts: 1,039member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MiddleGuy View Post



    The $60 million settlement was a huge mistake of Apple. Apple could negotiate with terrorists but shouldn't have negotiated about terrorism ever. Apple emboldened more terrorists to try the same thing.


    Or they could get their products taken out of China; the land of soon to be 2 billion people.

  • Reply 3 of 50

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    In its defense, Apple argued that it had no involvement in the development of the third-party apps, but the court ruled the company was responsible as it both approved and profited from the apps' sale.

     


     


    Apple's approval process seems to be a general checklist of whether or not the App adheres to some basic rules. If Apple were to do due diligence of each and every app, we wouldn't have 700,000 apps on the store.


    I have seen bootlegs (toys & CDs) making it into reputed chains. This is the same case.


     


    The straightforward way would be to send Apple a cease-and-desist which I'm sure Apple would respond to and remove the offending app and ban the developer as well. But why ask nicely when you can squeeze for some money right?


     


    I guess it comes with the territory. Apple is so big that it is damned if they do and damned if they don't. If they allow such apps to slip in without extensively checking the contents, then they wind up getting sued. If they spend inordinate amounts of time trying to verify an app, they are damned for dragging their feet on the approval process.


     


    And with respect to the Proview settlement, maybe Apple did the wisest thing they could do at the time. I am sure they were aware of the ramnifications of a settlement and were expecting such lawsuits.


     


    BTW, what happened to the guy who registered the leaked iPhone design? Will that circus unfold only after the iPhone releases in China? Would part of Apple's deal with China Mobile be to that they quash that silly bug so it doesn't irritate Apple?

  • Reply 4 of 50
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,148moderator
    idea for a scam:
    - write a book, get it copywritten and published, selling for $100+ a copy
    - get someone to publish it on the App Store for free
    - sue Apple for every copy downloaded

    Perhaps they need to have a system that auto scans for copywritten text the way Google does for music on Youtube.
  • Reply 5 of 50
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,230member


    How many seconds of Apple's income is that?

  • Reply 6 of 50
    Apple's approval process seems to be a general checklist of whether or not the App adheres to some basic rules. If Apple were to do due diligence of each and every app, we wouldn't have 700,000 apps on the store.
    I have seen bootlegs (toys & CDs) making it into reputed chains. This is the same case.

    The straightforward way would be to send Apple a cease-and-desist which I'm sure Apple would respond to and remove the offending app and ban the developer as well. But why ask nicely when you can squeeze for some money right?

    I guess it comes with the territory. Apple is so big that it is damned if they do and damned if they don't. If they allow such apps to slip in without extensively checking the contents, then they wind up getting sued. If they spend inordinate amounts of time trying to verify an app, they are damned for dragging their feet on the approval process.

    And with respect to the Proview settlement, maybe Apple did the wisest thing they could do at the time. I am sure they were aware of the ramnifications of a settlement and were expecting such lawsuits.

    BTW, what happened to the guy who registered the leaked iPhone design? Will that circus unfold only after the iPhone releases in China? Would part of Apple's deal with China Mobile be to that they quash that silly bug so it doesn't irritate Apple?

    This is where the "Walled Garden" model is going to get Apple in trouble like this. For instance YouTube only looks at items that get "reported" as violations... They don't review EVERY video before it posts. Apple's model sets Applevup for trouble .. If EVERY APP has to go thru Apple, why DON'T they know about brazen copying? Apple really does have the WHOLE application from all the developers in their possession. Brazen things like copying an Encyclopedia should be easy to catch.

    I can understand Apple doesn't WANT to get into content management, but their model opens the door because they "peek under the hood" as a REQUIREMENT for EVERY app.
  • Reply 7 of 50
    Ironic that the (undoubtably) Chinese pirates that uploaded the illegal content will probably get off scott-free, just like the torrent sites, because they don't have billions of dollars like Apple does. Likewise, it wouldn't matter if I was on the Android store, because no one buys Android apps.

    BTW I didn't think that 'copyright' existed in China, the country that makes cheap knock-offs of anything to make a quick dollar. iPed anyone?
  • Reply 8 of 50
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mabhatter View Post





    why DON'T they know about brazen copying? 


    Why should they know about it? They only approve apps that don't violate their API and rules. It has nothing to do with checking for piracy.


    The Chinese court is very strange. This case should be against the developers, not Apple.

  • Reply 9 of 50

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MiddleGuy View Post



    The $60 million settlement was a huge mistake of Apple. Apple could negotiate with terrorists but shouldn't have negotiated about terrorism ever. Apple emboldened more terrorists to try the same thing.


    I apologize if this statement hurts your feelings, but sir, you're stupid, or ignorant.


     


    China is a country with laws, like America. Like America, it might sometimes disregard them (hey, remember attacking Irak guys, which qualifies as an unilateral aggression in terms of international law? OK, now that the "terrorist" part is eliminated... let's move along).


     


    Apple has a Store. It sells stuff, and that stuff happened to be stolen. Apple is liable for that like anyone else would be. Being Apple doesn't mean "hey, we can ignore the law". 


    If you sell stolen goods, you're liable. If you keep selling them once you're aware they're stolen, you are even a criminal, but the mere act of selling stolen goods makes you liable.


    Apple, however, can and should sue the hell out of the persons who broke the law in the first place, but your comment was outrageous.

  • Reply 10 of 50

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post


    Why should they know about it? They only approve apps that don't violate their API and rules. It has nothing to do with checking for piracy.


    The Chinese court is very strange. This case should be against the developers, not Apple.



    You do realize that even in Europe, the court would have ruled the same?


    BTW, congratulations, you made me write my 600th post.

  • Reply 11 of 50
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member
    This is a tough call on this, since it is difficult for Apple to determine if the content was pirated. This, to me, sounds VERY similar to someone that violates a song's copyright by creating a song with the same melody line as a previously published song. Apple, unfortunately, may not have the time to do the research, since they don't have a way to check to see whether the content is actually copied from other published "text".

    Since this is plagiarized content. Obviously, Apple had no way of knowing and was not involved in the actually infringement prior to the content being posted.

    Now, if Apple has to pay the original copyright holder, then Apple should be able to sue the people that posted the infringed content to seek compensation for their illegal activities so that Apple can recoup the money back, plus attorneys fees so it doesn't actually cost Apple.

    Obviously, Apple should cease doing business altogether with the party that posted the illegal content and maybe those people should be given maybe some jail time for the illegal activity if they are found to be knowingly copying other published text before they released their content.

    I think that is what next step is.

    Some types of violations could have been prevented ahead of time and some can't. EIther way, UNFORTUNATELY, Apple is found liable, but also doing so with un-willful intent. Apple should know go after the party the submitted the content to get their money back, plus attornies fees.
  • Reply 12 of 50
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by BestKeptSecret View Post


     


    Apple's approval process seems to be a general checklist of whether or not the App adheres to some basic rules. If Apple were to do due diligence of each and every app, we wouldn't have 700,000 apps on the store.


    I have seen bootlegs (toys & CDs) making it into reputed chains. This is the same case.


     


    The straightforward way would be to send Apple a cease-and-desist which I'm sure Apple would respond to and remove the offending app and ban the developer as well. But why ask nicely when you can squeeze for some money right?


     


    I guess it comes with the territory. Apple is so big that it is ****ed if they do and ****ed if they don't. If they allow such apps to slip in without extensively checking the contents, then they wind up getting sued. If they spend inordinate amounts of time trying to verify an app, they are ****ed for dragging their feet on the approval process.


     


    And with respect to the Proview settlement, maybe Apple did the wisest thing they could do at the time. I am sure they were aware of the ramnifications of a settlement and were expecting such lawsuits.


     


    BTW, what happened to the guy who registered the leaked iPhone design? Will that circus unfold only after the iPhone releases in China? Would part of Apple's deal with China Mobile be to that they quash that silly bug so it doesn't irritate Apple?



    Yeah, unfortunately Apple can get nailed for this.  eBay got sued in the UK, I believe it was, because people were selling counterfeit designer products (Gucci handbags, etc.), I believe eBay got nailed for something like $49 Million because of the number of violations and POSSIBlY because they might not have pulled the content down in a timely manner, but I didn't see the exact transcripts of the case, but just a simple newspaper article writing some superficial accounting of what transpired.


     


    This is the trouble companies are exposed to and unfortunately, there is no publishing company that is supposed to do their due diligence to ensure that Applications are certified BEFORE they get distributed.  What I mean, is that in the music/film industry, there are companies that have attorneys on staff or retainer that get involved, there are people that work at publishing companies and they do what they are supposed to in order to verity that all parties have signed legal contracts properly releasing the content to distribution companies and retail stores and there are attorneys along the way certifying with copies of the proper contracts.  But this independent method of creating, distributing and selling content is so open to violations because it doesn't go through a series of attorneys ensuring content is legal and backed up with proper contracts.


     


    Apple, in the case of Apps being posted, go through a series of checks to ensure that it is not malware and I guess since Apple isn't a book publishing company, it is hard for them to do the kind of research ahead of time to prevent this.  Personally, I think Apple should sue the party that posted it and the courts should automatically grant them the ability to recoup the attorney fees, court costs, and fines that Apple has to pay and then the party that posted it might have to see some jail time.  I do believe in THIS case, Apple acted quickly to remove the content which would be un-willful, which would carry a less of a fine than if they acted in a willful manner if they didn't pull the content down in a timely fashion.

     


    The DMCA laws in the US do state that parties are held liable if the are profiting, acting as an agent, or willfully do not pull the content down within 14 days after being notified and I'm sure China has similar laws to protect people in the posting and sale of illegal content over the internet.


     


     


    I'm not an attorney, but this is my understanding.  If an attorney knows differently let me know.


     


    Maybe the application industry should have some sort of publishing company created to not only check for plagiarism, malware, and other illegal applications from being distributed and sold on the market. 

  • Reply 13 of 50
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post



    idea for a scam:

    - write a book, get it copywritten and published, selling for $100+ a copy

    - get someone to publish it on the App Store for free

    - sue Apple for every copy downloaded

    Perhaps they need to have a system that auto scans for copywritten text the way Google does for music on Youtube.


    I've NEVER heard of a auto scan system to check for copyrighted text.  Where did you get that from?  Google doesn't check ahead of time if a song or a video is being posted without the proper release forms being signed to allow the party to post the music/video.  But in the YouTube situation content is just being viewed and YouTube, from my understanding, can only be nailed if they are notified of the infringement and they do not pull content down within 14 days because the content is not being sold, it's just being posted by account holders.


     


    Unfortunately, the internet, and how companies allow people to open accounts and post whatever they want, presents a situation where it becomes almost like a free-for-all and a big pot of potential violations.


     


    There are LOTS of different types of infringement violations that can be made and some are DEFINITELY preventable and some aren't.  In this case, I think this was VERY difficult to be prevented since Apple doesn't have the ability to check for plagiarism easily. They can check for malware, which at least Apple is taking the proactive approach, unlike others.


     


    If they would throw some of the people in jail for posting illegal content, then maybe people would think twice before trying to sell illegal content through Apple.  Apple should also do what they can to only work with companies that have attorneys acting as an agent in the posting process, since attorneys are not as likely to sign off on illegal content because they can get disbarred and thrown in jail for this and the smart one know not to get involved with this sort of illegal activity.


     


    Maybe a way to prevent copyright violations is for Apple to first tell all of the companies that are posting content whether it is music, video, text, and applications that PROPER legal representation must be involved in the signing of contracts for each product being posted by each company.  That might reduce or eliminate the problems from existing.

  • Reply 14 of 50
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,230member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lightknight View Post


    I apologize if this statement hurts your feelings, but sir, you're stupid, or ignorant.


     


    China is a country with laws, like America. Like America, it might sometimes disregard them (hey, remember attacking Irak guys, which qualifies as an unilateral aggression in terms of international law? 



     


    You may wish to refrain from calling somebody stupid and ignorant when you then go on to incorrectly spell the name of an entire country like Iraq.


     


    There are people over there dying, for God's sake.


     


    Try to learn how to spell its name.

  • Reply 15 of 50
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,065member
    Oh the irony. The Chinese ruling against the sale of unauthorized digital copies ..... So I'll be charitable ... Perhaps it's a new day and American companies such as Apple, Microsoft, heck even Hollywood etc. can look forward to their IP being protected in China now ...
  • Reply 16 of 50
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,065member
    You do realize that even in Europe, the court would have ruled the same?
    BTW, congratulations, you made me write my 600th post.

    Just so I know ... is 600 a significant number for a reason I've missed?
  • Reply 17 of 50
    davegeedavegee Posts: 2,765member
    success wrote: »
    Or they could get their products taken out of China; the land of soon to be 2 billion people.

    2 billion ... Sure ... But pound-for-pound we're (the US) still #1 ... /ducks
  • Reply 18 of 50
    ltmpltmp Posts: 204member


    I removed this post because I had written something which, upon reflection, turned out to be grossly stupid.

  • Reply 19 of 50


    This is why I believe that Apple will lose the case against that company who released the goo phone will win in China.  

  • Reply 20 of 50


    Apple and Chinese businessman works, they love piracy!

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