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Apple is being sued in China again

This time, a media watchdog is saying that Apple has infringed on copyright by allowing a propaganda film to be viewed through Youku HD, a streaming app available in the App Store.

Daniel Van Boom Senior Writer
Daniel Van Boom is an award-winning Senior Writer based in Sydney, Australia. Daniel Van Boom covers cryptocurrency, NFTs, culture and global issues. When not writing, Daniel Van Boom practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, reads as much as he can, and speaks about himself in the third person.
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Daniel Van Boom
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Apple's presence in China is on the rise, but so are its legal woes.

The Cupertino, California-based company is now being sued by an arm of China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) over a propaganda video from 1994, reports the AP. A SARFT subsidiary, the Movie Satellite Channel Program Production Centre, claims it has exclusive online rights to the film, and that Apple broadcasting the film has caused "huge economic losses."

The film in question, "Xuebo dixiao," focuses on China battling Japan in the 1930s. It wasn't broadcast directly by Apple, but through Youku HD, an app available in the App Store.

Both Apple and Heyi Information and Technology, Youku's parent company, are being sued, with the Centre demanding the film be taken down and both organisations pay 50,000 yuan, which converts to roughly $7,500.

It's not Apple's first run in with SARFT, with the group shutting down iTunes' Movies and iBooks services back in April. That would be the first in a string of setbacks for the company in China -- in May it lost a trademark suit against a Beijing-based accessory maker that brands some of its products as "IPHONE", and in June it was accused of copying a little-known Chinese brand's design and using it on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Apple was contacted for comment but did not immediately respond.

Despite legal woes, the company has been pushing into the People's Republic harder than ever in recent months. There were several not-too-subtle nods towards China at June's WWDC 2016 keynote, which followed CEO Tim Cook visiting the country and announcing that Apple would be investing $1 billion in Didi Chuxing, China's Uber competitior.

The populous nation is Apple's second biggest market outside of the US, and it has ramped up its efforts there in the face of rising competition from the likes of Xiaomi and Huawei.