Apple purged 94,000 games from China App Store in 2020

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 4
In response to demands from Chinese authorities, Apple has reportedly purged thousands of games from the country's local version of the App Store in 2020, and there are likely more on the chopping block.

Apple's App Store
Apple's App Store


Following previous warnings to China's iOS developers, and suspending updates, Apple has reportedly now removed a large but unspecified number of videogame apps from the region's App Store.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the titles affected are chiefly paid gaming apps. Reportedly, the China government revised its laws in 2016 to say that such titles must be officially licensed by the authorities before they can be sold.

"Only a small fraction of these games are actually going to be able to get a license, as far as we can tell," Rich Bishop of consultancy group AppInChina told the Wall Street Journal.

Previously, marketing manager Todd Kuhns from the same group has explained that Apple had been able to ignore the 2016 law for its iOS App Store titles.

"No one is entirely clear how Apple managed to avoid enforcing the 2016 licensing rule for so long," he said in July 2020. "But considering the US-China trade war began heating up earlier this year, the timing is suspicious."

Estimates of the number of apps removed vary hugely. The Wall Street Journal cites the advocacy group Campaign for Accountability as claiming 3,000 titles present in other App Store regions are not in China.

However, the report also cites app business tracking company Sensor Tower as believing 94,000 apps have been removed from the China App Store in 2020. From January to November 2020, Apple's gaming revenue in China was $13 billion. That's 14% higher than in the same period in 2019 -- but the 2019 revenues were themselves 21% higher than the year before, impacted by a wide shutdown of games.

Tim Cook on a tour of China in 2017
Tim Cook on a tour of China in 2017


Apple does not detail which apps have been removed, nor specifically why. However, the company did issue a statement regarding the accusation that it was bending to political pressure.

"Apple studies these requests carefully whenever we receive them, and we contest and disagree with them often," a spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal. "Though the final decisions sometimes run contrary to our wishes, we believe that our customers are best served when we remain in the country providing them access to products that promote self- expression with world-class privacy protections."

As well as this round of removing games, Apple has previously agreed to remove multiple VPN apps that may have been used to circumvent the so-called Great Firewall of China.

Separately, Apple has been facing criticism over its App Store policies from the likes of Epic Games, developer of the "Fortnite" game. Apple has also cut its App Store commission rate for smaller developers.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    foljsfoljs Posts: 382member
    Apple followed Chinese laws while operating in China. News at 11!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 10
    leighrleighr Posts: 219member
    Shame China doesn’t have any laws about copyright, spyware and intellectual property. 
    lkruppelijahgBeatsDogpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 10
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,727member
    You do business in a country, you abide by the laws of that country. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 10
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,466member
    To coin a phrase from these forums, Tim Cook and Apple are China’s cock holster. And if Apple abides by the rules of the country they are doing business in then why is Apple  in the crosshairs of the U.S. DOJ for anti-trust actions?  Apple isn't doing this not because they abide by the rules. They are doing it because if they don’t they will be shut down. Not so in the U.S. where they can fight, delay, workaround, lobby to avoid abiding by the rules.

    Imagine what would happen if Europe or The United states demanded Apple remove 94,000 apps for whatever made-up reason. And we know what China’s reasons are for suppressing apps, don’t we.
    edited December 2020 elijahg
  • Reply 5 of 10
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,544member
    Apple is business like any on earth but Apple try to do it's best to work with local goverment. If China can put fire under billionaire Jack Ma and anyone but USA anyone can do wrong thing and get away with holes,gray area of laws than no one to complain other than US goverment. No business or person acts similarly in every part of world.  When in Rome, do as Roman do.
    elijahgDAalseth
  • Reply 6 of 10
    leighr said:
    Shame China doesn’t have any laws about copyright, spyware and intellectual property. 
    Of course they do. The law says you need to copy, spy and abuse intellectual property for make benefit glorious People's Republic of China.
    edited December 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 10
    leighr said:
    Shame China doesn’t have any laws about copyright, spyware and intellectual property. 
    Of course they do. The law says you need to copy, spy and abuse intellectual property for make benefit glorious People's Republic of China.
    Of course you must be aware of US history on protection of intellectual property, right? 

    The US was the worlds biggest thief of foreign intellectual property until the mid 1800's when some on the population started to create such property that it wanted to protect. On the copyright side, the big reason was Mark Twain. Before that, the US wasn't about to bow to pressure from foreign governments to give protection to their businesses and authors. 

    Up until very recently, the US still ignored many International intellectual property laws. 

    In my recent memory, the most newsworthy case involved a group which everyone here probably is familiar with. Monty Python. Foreign copyright laws protect "Moral Rights". The US never joined the 1893 Berne Convention specifically because that convention offered protection for moral rights of authors. 

    Monty Python got some protection in the US but it was one-off. The material from Monty Python was broadcast in the US in pieces so the full flavor of their antics were not allowed to show through. Their shows were, of course, developed and offered as a coherent set, and in the US, broadcasters didn't honor Monty Python's creativity in how they offered their skits. 

    Generally, the US only desires to protect economic side of intellectual property, and prefers to ignore non-economic principles. The Moral Rights are generally
             The right of attribution;
             The right to the publishing of materials or works;
             The right to have a work published under anonymous or pseudonymous means;
             The right to the inherent integrity of the work;
             The right to the preservation of the work from alteration of any kind.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 8 of 10
    larryjw said:
    leighr said:
    Shame China doesn’t have any laws about copyright, spyware and intellectual property. 
    Of course they do. The law says you need to copy, spy and abuse intellectual property for make benefit glorious People's Republic of China.
    Of course you must be aware of US history on protection of intellectual property, right? 

    The US was the worlds biggest thief of foreign intellectual property until the mid 1800's when some on the population started to create such property that it wanted to protect. On the copyright side, the big reason was Mark Twain. Before that, the US wasn't about to bow to pressure from foreign governments to give protection to their businesses and authors. 

    Up until very recently, the US still ignored many International intellectual property laws. 

    In my recent memory, the most newsworthy case involved a group which everyone here probably is familiar with. Monty Python. Foreign copyright laws protect "Moral Rights". The US never joined the 1893 Berne Convention specifically because that convention offered protection for moral rights of authors. 

    Monty Python got some protection in the US but it was one-off. The material from Monty Python was broadcast in the US in pieces so the full flavor of their antics were not allowed to show through. Their shows were, of course, developed and offered as a coherent set, and in the US, broadcasters didn't honor Monty Python's creativity in how they offered their skits. 

    Generally, the US only desires to protect economic side of intellectual property, and prefers to ignore non-economic principles. The Moral Rights are generally
             The right of attribution;
             The right to the publishing of materials or works;
             The right to have a work published under anonymous or pseudonymous means;
             The right to the inherent integrity of the work;
             The right to the preservation of the work from alteration of any kind.
    Very interesting. Thank you. I am not from the US, but this is an eye-opener.
  • Reply 9 of 10
    lkrupp said:
    To coin a phrase from these forums, Tim Cook and Apple are China’s cock holster. And if Apple abides by the rules of the country they are doing business in then why is Apple  in the crosshairs of the U.S. DOJ for anti-trust actions?  Apple isn't doing this not because they abide by the rules. They are doing it because if they don’t they will be shut down. Not so in the U.S. where they can fight, delay, workaround, lobby to avoid abiding by the rules.

    Imagine what would happen if Europe or The United states demanded Apple remove 94,000 apps for whatever made-up reason. And we know what China’s reasons are for suppressing apps, don’t we.
    Sigh.  It is not even clear if Apple is violating any US rules.  The way monopoly is being defined it comes off as totally off the wall gonzo.  It is a akin to saying Ford should sell parts for Chevy vehicles because it has a monopoly on selling Ford parts.
  • Reply 10 of 10

    larryjw said:
    leighr said:
    Shame China doesn’t have any laws about copyright, spyware and intellectual property. 
    Of course they do. The law says you need to copy, spy and abuse intellectual property for make benefit glorious People's Republic of China.
    Of course you must be aware of US history on protection of intellectual property, right? 

    The US was the worlds biggest thief of foreign intellectual property until the mid 1800's when some on the population started to create such property that it wanted to protect. On the copyright side, the big reason was Mark Twain. Before that, the US wasn't about to bow to pressure from foreign governments to give protection to their businesses and authors. 

    Up until very recently, the US still ignored many International intellectual property laws. 

    In my recent memory, the most newsworthy case involved a group which everyone here probably is familiar with. Monty Python. Foreign copyright laws protect "Moral Rights". The US never joined the 1893 Berne Convention specifically because that convention offered protection for moral rights of authors. 

    Monty Python got some protection in the US but it was one-off. The material from Monty Python was broadcast in the US in pieces so the full flavor of their antics were not allowed to show through. Their shows were, of course, developed and offered as a coherent set, and in the US, broadcasters didn't honor Monty Python's creativity in how they offered their skits. 

    Generally, the US only desires to protect economic side of intellectual property, and prefers to ignore non-economic principles. The Moral Rights are generally
             The right of attribution;
             The right to the publishing of materials or works;
             The right to have a work published under anonymous or pseudonymous means;
             The right to the inherent integrity of the work;
             The right to the preservation of the work from alteration of any kind.
    Very interesting. Thank you. I am not from the US, but this is an eye-opener.
    Except some of it is not entirely accurate.  The US did sign the Berne Convention but it was the 1971 Paris text.

    Terry Carroll provided an well detailed and "concise" Copyright FAQ with I believe Jan 1994 being the last update posted to Usenet (it was reposted in 1996 but unchanged) to the newsgroups misc.legal, misc.legal.computing, misc.int-property, comp.patents,misc.answers, comp.answers, and news.answers.  The following is the text from that document relating to Berne (edited for line breads otherwise the text is exactly it appeared (its information is inlay out of date of course :

    The Berne Convention has four main points:  National treatment, preclusion of formalities, minimum terms of protection, and minimum  exclusive rights.

    National treatment: Under Berne, an author's rights are respected in another country as though the author were a national (citizen) of that country (Art. 5(1)).  For example, works by U.S. authors are protected by French copyright in France, and vice versa, because both the U.S. and France are signatories to Berne.

    Preclusion of formalities: Under Berne, copyright cannot be dependent on formalities such as registration or copyright notice (Art. 5(2)).  However, as noted in sections 2.5 and 2.7, this provision apparently does  not prevent a member nation from taking adherence to formalities into  account when determining what remedies apply.

    Minimum terms of protection:  Under Berne, the minimum duration for copyright protection is the life of the author plus 50 years (Art. 7(1)).  Signatory nations may have provide longer durations if they so choose.

    Minimum exclusive rights: Under Berne, a nation must provide for protection of six rights: translation (Art. 8(1)), reproduction (Art. 9(1)), public performance (Art. 11(1), and Art. 11ter), adaptation (Art. 12), paternity (Art. 6bis(1)) and integrity (Art. 6bis(1)).  In certain of these areas, U.S. copyright law does not quite align with Berne.  For example, Berne requires that the paternity and integrity rights endure for the same term as the other rights (Art. 6bis(2)), while in the U.S., those rights terminate at the death of the author (17 U.S.C. 106A(e)).  The two have been reconciled by the premise that other sources of federal law, such as trademark, combined with the trademark, unfair competition, and defamation laws of the individual states, satisfy these requirements.

    The full thing should be google groups for those interested.

    gatorguybestkeptsecret
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