Apple ordered to pay Chinese writers in copyright dispute

After eight authors' books were sold on the tech giant's App Store without permission, a Chinese judge rules that Apple must pay up.

Apple is ordered to pay Chinese writers for selling their books in the App Store without authorization. Apple

A Beijing-based judge has sided with a group of Chinese authors in a copyright infringement lawsuit against Apple, according to China Daily. The judge ruled today that the tech giant must compensate eight authors who claim their books were illegally sold in Apple's App Store.

It's unclear exactly how much the writers will be paid. The Wall Street Journal reports the total compensation amount is 1.03 million yuan, or about $165,000, while China Daily writes that Apple must pay a total of 412,000 yuan, or around $66,000.

According to Mac Observer, the books appeared in Apple's App Store after pirates sold the authors' works to the tech company without authorization from the writers. These authors are some of China's most popular and grace bestseller lists throughout the country.

Apple told the Wall Street Journal that its employees "take copyright infringement complaints very seriously" and that "we're always updating our service to better assist content owners in protecting their rights."

This ruling comes as China commences a crackdown on the massive amount of pirating and trademark infringement in the country. Officials announced on Monday that they were changing the laws to tackle "malicious" trademark registrations, which have allowed local companies to misuse well-known names and brands. The proposed amendment would give more power to trademark holders, allowing them to ban the unauthorized use of their logos and names.

Over the past year, Apple has been no stranger to lawsuits coming out of China. After settling with Proview in July for $60 million over the use of the iPad trademark, the company was sued for allegedly infringing its "Snow Leopard" trademark. Apple has also been hit with lawsuits that accuse it of patent infringement for its Siri voice technology and its Facetime "personal digital assistant."

This most recent App Store case was filed earlier this year and went to court in October. In his ruling, the judge also ordered Apple to immediately stop selling the writers' books. According to China Daily, the authors might appeal the ruling because of the low compensation fee.

CNET contacted Apple for comment. We'll update the story when we get more information.

Featured Video