A Chinese court in Beijing slapped Apple with a US$118,000 fine for copyright infringement over three titles available through the iBookstore. The Intermediate People's Court ruled that the books shouldn't have been available through the iBookstore and that Apple was responsible even though it was actually other people who apparently didn't have permission to distribute the titles that added them to the online store.
China fines Apple over ebook copyright infringement
The parties that offered the titles through the iBookstore didn't have rights to the books, which happened to be best sellers and presumably were money makers. Because of their status, the Beijing court felt Apple should've known the titles weren't being sold legitimately, according to China Daily.
The Judge overseeing the case stated,
The writers involved this time include Mai Jia, whose books are often on best-seller lists across the country. In this way, Apple has the capability to know the uploaded books on its online store violated the writer's copyright.
Judge Feng Gang went on to say other companies should take his ruling against Apple as a warning that they're responsible for knowing whether or not a person or publisher has rights to sell the titles they offer. He also said ebook resellers need to improve their verification systems so prevent copyright violation claims.
In other words, in China it's the responsibility of ebook resellers to police publishers and verify that any titles they sell include proper copyright protection.
[Thanks to ZDNet for the heads up]