Apple Must Pay Chinese Authors for Copyright Infringement

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Apple in ChinaA Chinese court has ordered Apple to pay a group of local writers for copyright infringement. China Daily reported that the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court agreed with the writers that their works were being sold on Apple's App Store without a license.

Apple was ordered to pay some 1.03 million yuan (US$165,000) to the authors, well shy of the 10 million yuan ($1.6 million) they had been seeking.

At issue are apps of Chinese books that are available on the App Store. According to the authors in question, unlicensed versions of their works were being sold on the App Store, works placed their by Chinese pirates. While Apple requires developers to own any appropriate copyrights for their apps, it turns out that there are some folks who lie.

In a statement provided to The Wall Street Journal, Apple said that its employees, "take copyright infringement complaints very seriously," and that, "we're always updating our service to better assist content owners in protecting their rights."

Comments

Lee Dronick

Did the authors first ask Apple to remove the pirated version? If so and they were not removed in a timely manner then shame on Apple. If not, then shame on the gold diggers.

Terrin

Lee:

The problem with copyright law is the industry lobbyists on a worldwide basis have paid off the powers that be to pass abusive copyright laws. For instance, in the US whether or not a person making an unauthorized copy knew the copy was unauthorized, is not relevant. A party like Apple could even take reasonable efforts to assure the copy was authorized, and still could be liable if it either directly or indirectly made a copy. 


In the US, the minimum fine for a single case of copyright infringement is over a hundred thousand dollars. Meanwhile, I could go into an Apple Store and steal a computer and the fine would be lucky if it reaches a thousand dollars (after paying restitution for the computer).

The problem with copyright law is the threshold for something to be protected is very low and the length of protection is very long (over a hundred years). Moreover, inevitably creative works unintentionally borrow from one another. For instance, there are only so many three cord combinations that go together.

The whole purpose of copyright law as envisioned under the Constitution was to give authors a limited monopoly in their works in exchange for creating what eventually would be public works. After ten years the protection would expire, and the public could use the works freely. The authors could also elect to have the works protected by another ten years if they filled out the proper paperwork before the works expired. This makes sense considering most creative works are inspired by other works. Protecting such works for over a hundred years is ridiculous.

Ironically in the US, Apple could protect itself by allowing all Apps on to the App Store without a review process. Since Apple elects to review Apps, it would be liable in the US is an unauthorized App made its way onto its Store.

Copyright law also doesn’t inspire the innovation it is intended to do. Take for instance the fashion industry which is very creative, competitive, wealthy, and growing. It is not protected by copyright law. The lack of protection forces competitors to constantly be creative, and new players don’t have to worry about being sued for accidentally copying somebody else’s work.

Lee Dronick

If I remember correctly the big change in copyright laws came about because the one on the original Disney characters were going to expire. Not Mickey Mouse because that is a trademark, but Goofy, Pluto and the others from way back when.

“Copyright law also doesn’t inspire the innovation it is intended to do. Take for instance the fashion industry which is very creative, competitive, wealthy, and growing. It is not protected by copyright law. The lack of protection forces competitors to constantly be creative, and new players don’t have to worry about being sued for accidentally copying somebody else’s work.”

Agree

“Ironically in the US, Apple could protect itself by allowing all Apps on to the App Store without a review process. Since Apple elects to review Apps, it would be liable in the US is an unauthorized App made its way onto its Store.”

They are probably concerned about porn and getting sued if some youngster is exposed to it.

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