In a country where Apple’s products and distinctive branding are ripped off on seemingly every street corner, this story almost seems like the epitome of irony, but a Chinese court has fined Apple around 1 million Yuan (~$160,500) because of copyright issues.
Earlier this year, a group of Chinese writers and publishers filed a lawsuit against Apple because the App Store contained apps that illegally used their content. In other words, other developers created apps that used unlicensed content, and the owners of the content wanted Apple to pay because of it.
According to newswire reports, that group of people has come away victorious. The biggest victory went to a publishing company, which took about 60% of the total ruling. Author Han Ailian got the second-biggest prize, 186,000 Yuan.
Apple did not release an official statement about the outcome of the trial. Its defense had been that the app makers should be the ones held accountable. The judge, however, found that Apple was negligent for not following its own policies, which say that it will only accept apps that contain copyright infringement.
This will no doubt only add tension to the unusual relationship between Apple and China. Even though the country supplies Apple with the resources to make its products, it has a very tenuous consumer presence in the region.
It is definitely trying to expand, though. There are multiple Apple Store locations in China, and the time it takes for new iPads and iPhones to make their way there has been drastically reduced. It’s now just a matter of weeks after the products are launched in the US.