Apple has been a courtroom champion lately, winning the majority of patent battles, but the tables have turned in China, though not for any patent infringements. Instead, Apple has been found guilty of copyright infringement after being accused of illegally publishing material by popular Chinese writers.
The Beijing Second Intermediate Court has found Apple liable for selling unlicensed work by eight local writers. The court has ordered Apple to stop publishing the material and to pay 1.03 million yuan (165,908 USD) in compensation. Among the authors whose work was illegally published are Murong Xuecun, Li Chengpeng and He Ma.
The writings involved in the case were published within an application on the iTunes store. Apple was found guilty because it failed to check the content designed by the app developers, who might have included the writings illegally.
This could be bad news for app developers as stores like iTunes and Google’s Play Store will likely impose stricter restrictions on incoming apps. Apple’s guilty verdict will definitely make the company more cautious when accepting new apps; however, now’s the time to ask whether or not a company like Apple should be responsible for the actions of developers who break the law in this regard.
Should Apple have to pay reparations and fines because a developer managed to sneak copyrighted content by their reviewers? More importantly, shouldn’t copyright holders be suing developers and app owners for the copyright infringement?
We’re probably going to find out soon enough…
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