Apple Reportedly Settles Over Third Party App Copyright Infringement

Apple and Australian-based Jigsaw Entertainment settled out of court over the “Chopper Soundboard” app that was developed by a teenage student in 2010. The once best-selling “entertainment” app was based on unlicensed copyrighted material from a comedy show that aired in 2005-06.

While the boy violated copyright, it was Apple that was sued by Jigsaw. Apple reportedly retreived the money paid to the boy, along with the money Apple also earned from sales of the app, and paid it to the firm as part of the settlement.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the terms of the settlement are confidential and of course Apple has refused to comment, so there is little information other than the agreement was reached on February 6 with the confidentiality order being issued on February 17.

It is known that at least 10,000 copies were sold in the three weeks the app was on the App Store before being pulled. Jigsaw had asked for the app to be removed from the App Store and when that didn’t happen, the company filed suit on October 12, 2010.

Apparently the boy’s father also asked his son to pull that app once he learned what he had done. The father also wrote a letter to apologize to Jigsaw Entertainment. Jigsaw agreed not to pursue legal action against the boy.

Apple was of the opinion that the proper action would be for Jigsaw to sue the app developer. However, Jigsaw chief executive Nick Murray’s argument was that since the App Store was curated by Apple, Apple should bear responsibility for the infringement.

“Apps from the iTunes store are all vetted, checked and classified by Apple before being released,” Mr. Murray said. “We can’t understand how a product which actually stated it was from a TV show appears not to have been checked by Apple to make sure it was an authorised [sic] product…”

The “Chopper Soundboard” app contained up to 116 soundbites from a sketch comedy show created by Heath Franklin for The Ronnie Johns Half Hour. It has content especially from a particular sketch called “Harden the F—- Up,” which was popular with teenage boys.