January 9, 2012
Apple Being Sued By Chinese Authors
A nearly $2-million lawsuit that had been filed against Apple Inc. for copyright infringement by a group of Chinese authors has entered into formal proceedings.
The lawsuit alleges that Apple provided copyright-infringing books for download through its online store, according to a report from Chinese financial magazine Caixin. The group behind the lawsuit has been lobbying for months to get Apple to remove the books from its App Store.
The authors, nine in all, have filed the suit under the support from the China Written Works Copyright Society (CWWCS). Among the writers are blogger/critic Han Han, author Li Chengpeng, and prominent writers Cang Yue and Murong Xuecun.
In all, 37 works are allegedly being infringed upon by Apple. The group is seeking $11.9 million yuan ($1.8 million US) in compensation from the tech giant. The group -- working with other authors -- has also launched campaigns against Baidu and Google for similar issues.
In 2010, Google issued a formal apology to the writers, while in 2011, Baidu deleted nearly 2.8 million items in response to complaints from more than 40 authors.
“The download number of one best-selling book is as much as one million, which creates about one billion dollars in losses for each writer,” the society´s spokesman Bei Zhicheng told the Nanjing Daily.
Apple eats up 30 percent of all profits from its digital sales, both legal and illegal, in its App Store. Most consumers are unaware that the books they buy may be pirated, said Bei.
Zhu Jintai became the first Chinese author to file a lawsuit against Apple, when he did so last August for intellectual property rights infringement. When Apple refused to provide information about its developers, Zhu resorted to litigation.
Apple eventually removed the work and issued a statement saying that developers, according to the terms of their agreement with Apple, may not violate, misappropriate or infringe copyright. The lawsuit is still pending.
In September 2011, six writers demanded 6.5 million yuan ($1 million US) in compensation from Apple over the copyright infringement of 23 books.
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