textbooks transformation ibookstore Apple hit with fine for selling unauthorized work in iBookstore

Everyone wants to take a bite out of the Apple, and China’s Writer’s Right Protection Union recently got their fair share.  Apple was recently fined for infringing upon the works of three Chinese writers, but the payout was next to nothing compared to the billions of dollars in its war chest.

Judge Feng Gang of the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court ruled that Apple neglected to verify that the publishers had the proper rights to upload the writers’ work onto iBookstore.  Therefore, the punishment for such disregard on Apple’s part was 730,000 yuan ($118,000). 

"The writers involved this time include Mai Jia, whose books are often on best-seller lists across the country," Gang said. "In this way, Apple has the capability to know the uploaded books on its online store violated the writer's copyright."

Gang also wanted Apple to strengthen its verification process in the future to avoid lawsuits such as these.  IT experts, however, don’t think that Apple will do anything about their platform despite having lost the lawsuit.

“What they can do is make it stricter for publishers, but this may affect their online platform’s popularity and result in economic losses,” Xie Wen said, former president of Yahoo China. 

“The verification process must rely on human power, but some small companies won’t spend money and time to employ people to do such work.  So such disputes will be hard to avoid in the future,” added Yang Shuo, an IT veteran.

A fine of just over $100K means nothing to Apple, but, according to a copyright lawyer, if the infringement compensations were a lot more (perhaps several million dollars) then maybe that will be an incentive for Apple to change its platform’s distribution policies.

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