A leading Taiwanese writer-turned-director says he was called an "idiot" by Apple's Hong Kong staff when he complained about copyright infringement of his work.
Giddens Ko, the man behind the top-grossing Chinese-language romantic comedy You Are the Apple of My Eye, said he had noticed stories he had written appearing illegally in Apple's App Store over the past few years.
However, the iPhone and iPad manufacturer refused to let Ko put about 50 works of fiction into the App Store in the form of free apps, because the company said it faced difficulty in determining if he was the legitimate copyright owner.
Ko says he wrote dozens of complaints to the company to no avail, prompting him to head to Apple's Hong Kong office in Causeway Bay yesterday to pursue the matter in person.
Ko's manager Molly Fang Hsiao-ju said when he arrived staff members asked him to file another written complaint. They refused to let him see any staff and would not give him the name of the person in charge of copyright matters.
Ko decided to write his complaint while he was in the Apple office and asked his manager to record the process. Apple's staff demanded the pair leave and delete the footage, Fang said, and security guards were summoned to see them out.
"We did not film Apple's logo or its staff," she said. "In a voice recording we made, there was one staff member calling us 'idiots'."
Police later arrived at the scene but did not make the two delete the video.
As of yesterday, eight out of 10 apps found on the App Store in the author's name were copyright-infringing, Fang said. Apple once removed problematic apps when they reported them, but now new pirate copies popped up after three months, she said.
When Ko posted details of his Apple encounter on his Facebook page last night, he gained more than 5,100 "likes". He returned to Taiwan last night.
Staff at Apple's Causeway Bay office refused to comment on the issue yesterday. The company's press department did not respond to a written inquiry before editorial deadline.
Ko began writing as a blogger. His stories, including the Killer series, were then published commercially. You Are the Apple of My Eye was his first movie and it broke the box-office record held by Stephen Chow's Kung Fu Hustle at the end of last year.