Apple loses lawsuit against Chinese writer, paying $34k for copyright infringement

Yang Zhi, who writes Chinese literature under the pseudonym Jiangnan, revealed that he has been paid RMB 230,000 (roughly US$ 34,000) from Apple as compensation for copyright infringement. He sued App

Yang Zhi, who writes Chinese literature under the pseudonym Jiangnan, revealed that he has been paid RMB 230,000 (roughly US$ 34,000) from Apple as compensation for copyright infringement.

He sued Apple’s US legal entity in 2015 after finding that people could download a free app from Apple’s App Store to read his work, without his authorization. The Chinese writer asked Apple to delete the app and compensate him for RMB 1,224,000 (US$180,000) and pay the lawyer’ fee of RMB 33,000 (US$4860).

Apple did delete the app but argued that it was not the actual operator of the AppStore. Apple manages its iTunes and AppStore related businesses through subsidiaries in Europe. The tech giant also claimed this was a hostile lawsuit as the compensation Yang asked for was too high, given that it did not gain any profit from this app.

However, the Beijing Dongcheng People’s Court ruled that Apple was the operator in charge here, rather than its wholly-owned Luxembourg-registered subsidiary which only handled payment.

The court made clear that it believes that Apple has very strong control and management capability over the AppStore and apps on it due to AppStore’s closed-loop feature and thus had relevant supervising responsibilities.

Last, the court believed that although Apple did not profit from this app, its existence did result in a loss for the Chinese writer. The writer’s works did have print versions before the free unauthorized circulation.

Apple appealed the case but lost.