Apple to pay US$1.9 million to online Chinese publisher for copyright infringement in App Store
- The Tianjin Binhai People’s Court found several unnamed apps on Apple’s online App Store in mainland China published unlicensed content
- COL Digital Publishing Group has sued Apple four different times since 2012 in cases related to digital works
Apple and COL Digital Publishing’s legal battle is expected to continue because the plaintiff’s lawsuit concerns 83 separate incidents and 460 different IPs, with the total amount of damages claimed reaching more than 70 million yuan, according to the China Securities Journal report.
Apple declined to comment on Thursday. A lawyer for COL Digital Publishing confirmed the Tianjin court’s ruling, but declined to further comment because the case is ongoing.
This was not the first time COL Digital Publishing hauled Apple to court. The mainland firm has sued Apple four different times since 2012 in cases related to digital works, according to the report.
In April, the Beijing Intellectual Property Court rejected Apple’s request to appeal its earlier ruling that the US company infringed on COL Digital Publishing’s right to communicate its works to the public. Apple was ordered to pay 368,000 yuan in remedy to the online publisher.
Apple has long prided itself on having a fair and secure ecosystem, but legal pressure from consumers and other parties has shown cracks in the tech company’s “walled garden”.
The management of Apple’s App Store in mainland China has not met the requirements of the country’s Copyright Law, according to You Yunting, a senior partner at Shanghai Debund Law Firm.
“Chinese courts have established rather high standards for duty of care, which means that … you cannot get away from responsibilities when infringement happens on your platform,” You said.
That issue could come back to bite Apple in the world’s second largest economy, where it has not been faring well in recent litigation.
In a decision handed down in September, the country’s Supreme People’s Court ruled that a lawsuit filed by a Chinese consumer against Apple’s mainland subsidiary on antitrust grounds could proceed in a Shanghai court. That ruling rejected Apple’s plea that its China entity, which mainly distributes the company’s products to the local market, should not be sued over issues related to the operations of its App Store in the country.