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Old Dec 28, 2012, 09:42 AM   #1
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Apple Ordered to Pay Chinese Writers in eBook Settlement




The Wall Street Journal reports that Chinese courts have ordered Apple to pay a group of Chinese writers $165,000 for unlawfully distributing copyrighted works in certain Chinese apps.
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A Beijing court ordered*Apple*Inc.*to pay 1.03 million yuan, or about $165,000, to a group of local writers who said the U.S. gadget maker sold unlicensed copies of their books online, according to state media.

The state-run Xinhua news agency said Thursday that the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court ordered Apple to pay the money to eight Chinese writers and two companies for violating their copyrights.
The writers had asked for 10 million yuan and Apple was ordered to pay a fraction of that. Unlicensed eBook distribution has been a problem for Apple of late, as the report notes that the company had a similar issue back in September. Apple isn't intentionally distributing the copyrighted content itself, but because the company is the gatekeeper for the digital stores, the Chinese courts are requiring Apple to pay.

Article Link: Apple Ordered to Pay Chinese Writers in eBook Settlement
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 10:00 AM   #2
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Close down the Chinese bookstore then, since the country wants to hold them responsible for the actions of their devs. After all, China doesn't want people to get "unauthorized" information to people anyway.
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 10:09 AM   #3
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Close down the Chinese bookstore then, since the country wants to hold them responsible for the actions of their devs. After all, China doesn't want people to get "unauthorized" information to people anyway.
Whenever I read anything that the Chinese complain about with copyright, unauthorized distribution etc. I have to laugh.

Sad as it is:-)
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 10:14 AM   #4
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I read this article on my mePhone then looked for the original story on my myPad.
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 11:12 AM   #5
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Close down the Chinese bookstore then, since the country wants to hold them responsible for the actions of their devs. After all, China doesn't want people to get "unauthorized" information to people anyway.
Not that what you say is entirely true, but it works both way. When Lodsys sued many developers, Apple stood up for them.
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 11:30 AM   #6
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Close down the Chinese bookstore then, since the country wants to hold them responsible for the actions of their devs. After all, China doesn't want people to get "unauthorized" information to people anyway.
Don't be stupid, Apple pays out for this, then sues whoever submitted the apps/books for compensation. Simple legal processes taking place. Apple probably aren't troubled by this at all.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 12:45 PM   #7
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Don't be stupid, Apple pays out for this, then sues whoever submitted the apps/books for compensation. Simple legal processes taking place. Apple probably aren't troubled by this at all.
If it's worth the time that is costs to do it. What may happen is the devs are just prevented from distributing through Apple again (preventing the liability issue from them).
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 04:52 PM   #8
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Don't be stupid, Apple pays out for this, then sues whoever submitted the apps/books for compensation. Simple legal processes taking place. Apple probably aren't troubled by this at all.
It sets a dangerous precedent. It means Apple are liable for the content on the store. That might be potentially workable since Apple approves all the content on the stores, but it exposes them to potentially huge damages should somebody upload something the reviewer doesn't immediately recognise as an infringement of somebody's IP.

There are decades of enforceable IP registered all over the world. It includes books and songs and movies and more, in every country those are protected. On the other hand, Apple can only realistically have so many reviewers.

The real danger here is to Google, who don't have an approval mechanism. There's a huge amount of IP infringement on the Play store.

The way Google tackles this at the moment is the same way they do with Youtube (see Viacom vs Youtube) - copyright holders have to notify the company and it will take the offending content down, but it isn't liable for any actual infringement that occurred. The case has had a bit of a back-and-forth, but most of the modern internet depends on that ruling essentially staying.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 01:40 AM   #9
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It sets a dangerous precedent. It means Apple are liable for the content on the store. That might be potentially workable since Apple approves all the content on the stores, but it exposes them to potentially huge damages should somebody upload something the reviewer doesn't immediately recognise as an infringement of somebody's IP.

There are decades of enforceable IP registered all over the world. It includes books and songs and movies and more, in every country those are protected. On the other hand, Apple can only realistically have so many reviewers.

The real danger here is to Google, who don't have an approval mechanism. There's a huge amount of IP infringement on the Play store.

The way Google tackles this at the moment is the same way they do with Youtube (see Viacom vs Youtube) - copyright holders have to notify the company and it will take the offending content down, but it isn't liable for any actual infringement that occurred. The case has had a bit of a back-and-forth, but most of the modern internet depends on that ruling essentially staying.
The biggest risk revolves around Apple being sued not for the content of the store, but for what that content was used for. Since everyone on this forum (well, at least one or two of you) loves car analogies, this is a bit like suing Chevrolet because one of its vehicles was used to commit a crime. Or a more precise analogy would be suing Amazon because the content of a book it sold contained material that its author had stolen from someone else's book.
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 12:37 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Saladinos View Post
It sets a dangerous precedent. It means Apple are liable for the content on the store. That might be potentially workable since Apple approves all the content on the stores, but it exposes them to potentially huge damages should somebody upload something the reviewer doesn't immediately recognise as an infringement of somebody's IP.
There are two ways to fix this: One is by not having excessive penalties or having no penalties at all - in this case it is clear that Apple had not intended to infringe anyone's copyright but was tricked into doing so. Penalties should only be applied to the scammers who submitted someone else's work. The other is for Apple (or anyone in a similar position) to make sure that they know who they are dealing with, so if anything goes wrong they have someone to take to court as well.
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 09:19 AM   #11
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There are two ways to fix this: One is by not having excessive penalties or having no penalties at all - in this case it is clear that Apple had not intended to infringe anyone's copyright but was tricked into doing so. Penalties should only be applied to the scammers who submitted someone else's work. The other is for Apple (or anyone in a similar position) to make sure that they know who they are dealing with, so if anything goes wrong they have someone to take to court as well.
I actually thought that this was the whole point of the iPhone developer program - that if your app is malicious, Apple can use the card you paid the developer fee with to identify you.

I'm not sure why they're not handing over the addresses of the developers and asking the rights holders to sort it out with them (or maybe they did and the Chinese court just didn't accept that).
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 11:32 AM   #12
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Need for improved legal wording put in bold if necessary

I do not know who approved the ebook titles to appear in chinese itunes in the first place. That person is responsible for uploading them and failing to show verified authorization from the original publisher attached to the ebook submission. Since Apple we know profits. Its clear that these angry customers need their money back. Its a matter of checking their logbooks. I am glad that Apple isnt ordered to pay 90% more.

Last edited by martial900; Dec 28, 2012 at 11:36 AM. Reason: Omission left behind
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 12:12 PM   #13
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As the distributor of the infringing material Apple should have some liability. Now what Apple should do is go after the ones who uploaded the books. They may not be able to recover all or any of their damages, but financially breaking them will serve as a pretty good incentive for others.
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 12:26 PM   #14
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As the distributor of the infringing material Apple should have some liability. Now what Apple should do is go after the ones who uploaded the books. They may not be able to recover all or any of their damages, but financially breaking them will serve as a pretty good incentive for others.
Why didn't the writers sue the people who uploaded the books directly instead of going after Apple ? Answer - Apple has more money.

I would not be surprised if it was a scam where the group of writers arranged to have someone upload the books so the writers could sue .
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 02:24 PM   #15
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Why didn't the writers sue the people who uploaded the books directly instead of going after Apple ? Answer - Apple has more money.

I would not be surprised if it was a scam where the group of writers arranged to have someone upload the books so the writers could sue .
I don't know if China has a Jointly and Severally Liability Doctrine, but this ruling suggests that they might. This doctrine, which is used in most of the states, makes it incumbent on the defendants to work out who owes what percentage, so the plaintiff doesn't have to.

For example, if a bunch of punks (5) trashed your car and caused $5,000 damage. You should not have to sue each one for $1,000. You just have to go after one for the amount, and then he has to settle amongst the rest.

And yes, it's pretty standard to go after the easiest target.

Last edited by NakedPaulToast; Dec 28, 2012 at 02:37 PM.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 04:46 AM   #16
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Why didn't the writers sue the people who uploaded the books directly instead of going after Apple ? Answer - Apple has more money. I would not be surprised if it was a scam where the group of writers arranged to have someone upload the books so the writers could sue .
Hmmm....makes you wonder.
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 02:40 PM   #17
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That's BS. Chinese citizens are creating junk lawsuits to try to sue for huge amounts of unwarranted cash. China has the WORTS copy right laws. They allow pirated media and consumer goods. The fact that they would actually try to uphold any type copy right lawsuit reflects the flaws of Communism and the crookedness of Chinese courts.
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 03:10 PM   #18
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That's BS. Chinese citizens are creating junk lawsuits to try to sue for huge amounts of unwarranted cash. China has the WORTS copy right laws. They allow pirated media and consumer goods. The fact that they would actually try to uphold any type copy right lawsuit reflects the flaws of Communism and the crookedness of Chinese courts.
For consumers, piracy is a good thing:
1) It lets people to get something which they could not afford to buy under any possible conditions
2) It makes companies to reasonably price their products.
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 03:37 PM   #19
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For consumers, piracy is a good thing:
1) It lets people to get something which they could not afford to buy under any possible conditions
2) It makes companies to reasonably price their products.
1) The way I was raised, that's called "stealing." Especially if it's a luxury that they shouldn't have if they didn't work for the money to afford, and they don't need it to live.
2) It drives up the prices for everyone else, because we have to compensate for YOUR lack of proper rearing.
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 04:00 PM   #20
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1) The way I was raised, that's called "stealing." Especially if it's a luxury that they shouldn't have if they didn't work for the money to afford, and they don't need it to live.
2) It drives up the prices for everyone else, because we have to compensate for YOUR lack of proper rearing.
Piracy is the equivalent of stealing a car that duplicates itself when it gets stolen.
And now there are two cars. The horror.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 12:59 AM   #21
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Piracy is the equivalent of stealing a car that duplicates itself when it gets stolen.
And now there are two cars. The horror.
Yeah, and if that was so then no one would buy cars anymore, would they? Because they could just duplicate someone else's.

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Piracy is not equivalent to your examples - no resources are lost when software is duplicated. Software can be duplicated ad infinitum with no degradation or perceptible cost.

I'm not saying piracy is right - but it is not the same as stealing a physical item.
Sneaking into a movie theatre without paying isn't losing anyone any resources, is it?
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 02:57 PM   #22
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Piracy is the equivalent of stealing a car that duplicates itself when it gets stolen.
Which, if it started to happen to computer and car companies when PCs first came out, would have stopped these companies from investing in new designs (why spend billions in R&D when they would only sell one car, which would then get duplicated). So have fun duplicating some 30 year old PC or car in your world, instead of having the new one you have now.

Idiot thief (from your own kid's future products).
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Old Dec 30, 2012, 01:29 AM   #23
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Piracy is the equivalent of stealing a car that duplicates itself when it gets stolen.
And now there are two cars. The horror.
And if a company spends $500 million designing, developing and building that car, and after one person buys that car, and everyone else steals their own copy, how does the car builder get its money back for the design and production of that car? Pirating intellectual material may not deprive the owner of the material, but it does deprive the owner of the potential market for that material. Similarly, if everyone pirated books, then authors would make no money writing them, and before you know it, nobody would be writing books any more.
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 04:58 PM   #24
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For consumers, piracy is a good thing:
1) It lets people to get something which they could not afford to buy under any possible conditions
2) It makes companies to reasonably price their products.
Dude, both those things are completely contradictory. What you meant to say was, it helps people get for free some reasonably priced items they could easily afford to pay for.

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Piracy is the equivalent of stealing a car that duplicates itself when it gets stolen.
And now there are two cars. The horror.
Piracy is the equivalent of duplicating currency. The only victim is every law abiding person who's goods/money just got devalued by greedy freeloaders.
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 06:57 PM   #25
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People here just don't quite understand how important the Chinese market is to Apple. Apple need the Chinese market more than the Chinese need Apple.
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