Apple Loses Copyright Case In China Over Infringing Copies Of China Encyclopedia

from the be-careful-what-you-wish-for dept

We’ve pointed out for years that every time the US (mainly) pushes China to be stronger on IP laws, it backfires. Chinese officials know damn well that government granted monopolies are trade barriers that can be used to bludgeon the competition — and they almost always use IP laws against foreign companies and to protect domestic Chinese companies. So, just a day after China (once again) defended its respect for copyright, it seems worth noting that a Chinese court found Apple guilty of copyright infringement over a product called the China Encyclopedia:

The court ruled the publishing house is the only legitimate copyright owner of the Chinese History Volume of “China Encyclopedia”, first edition. Its copyright is protected by Chinese laws. No organization or individual shall spread the involved content through the information network without the copyright owner’s permission.

The publishing house found in October 2010 that iTunes software, which can be downloaded from a website run by Apple Electronic Products Trade (Beijing) Co Ltd, allows users to purchase and download a large part of “China Encyclopedia” from the App Store for iPhones and iPads.

Apple tried to defend itself by pointing out, quite reasonably, that it does not create all the products in the iTunes store, but the court ruled that “Apple should bear the responsibility for the App Store copyright infringement.” Oh, and apparently this was just the first of a whole bunch of similar cases that have been filed against Apple. To those of you who think that China needs to show more “respect” for copyright: be careful what you wish for.

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Companies: apple

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Comments on “Apple Loses Copyright Case In China Over Infringing Copies Of China Encyclopedia”

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out_of_the_blue says:

Protectionism, not really copyright, Mike.

“almost always use IP laws against foreign companies and to protect domestic Chinese companies.”

IF you knew anything about economics, the distinction would be obvious at once.

“be careful what you wish for”? — Well, particularly against Apple, the darling of dolts, this looks like win-win from my view!

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Protectionism, not really copyright, Mike.

Everyone here understands the difference between IP laws and protectionism. That doesn’t exclude the very real possibility, which is actually occurring, of using IP laws as a means of protectionism.

Please don’t post unless you have something useful, or at the very least funny to contribute.

gorehound (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Exactly and Karma I wish to see happen.
I for one will not be rushing off to Buy IPAD or iPhone or Apple Computer.
I will Design and Build my Own Rig and it will run faster, it will be stable, and it will have better quality parts than an Apple Machine and it will also Cost an Estimated 30 – 50 Percent less.

Sue Apple and do to them what they do to others ! And US Government you Complain and Complain about Debt but you all ow these Companies and you allow Rich People to hide their Income Offshore and use lame Tax Loopholes.I think all those A-Hole Loopholes should be closed to all.

Karma is a Bitch Apple……………..LOL

Roman (user link) says:

Apple can't have it both ways

Apple always touts the things in its store as if it’s responsible, and warns jailbreakers that something not-approved by them isn’t safe or could get you in trouble, that’s why you should trust them to be the gatekeeper responsible for how you do your computing. Then when something is wrong suddenly they’re no-longer responsible. Apple cannot have it both ways.

Anonymous Coward says:

i would think that most people have little if any sympathy for Apple at all. it is the worst company for suing others for violating what it classes as it’s copyright but is the first to try to get away with using copyright, for free, that it knows belongs to others. the US is really the only place where Apple wins any cases. what does that tell you?

The Real Michael says:

Hey all you copyright maximalist, crony capitalist, lawyer lovin’ corporates out there: hope you all enjoy the monster you created. After all, this is your fault — you’re the ones who pushed for all those draconian laws and regulations, out of your insatiable desire for greed and control. So don’t be surprised when you see other national entities using the monster you unleashed to their own advantage, to dig into your pockets and give foreign governments leverage until, eventually, they have control over you and all your assets.

This is only the beginning. Enjoy the ride. 🙂

Wally (profile) says:


Let me get this straight, the Chinese Government sided with an asinine claim that because a company claimed Apple “offered” a book in iTunes called “China Encyclopedia” which if you use the iBooks search function, will not come up and never had there before, it’s ok even though it sows China acting exactly like the US Government?

Since it’s Apple, does it still make it right? I would be interested to see the same thing happen to Google and watch people comment on how ludicrous that is….but ok people, let your biases get in the way of the big picture.

edinjapan (profile) says:

Re: ???

人民共和国的中国政府说 “你将得到你的屁股的圆眼外国魔鬼踢”

(translation) PRC Government says to Apple “Roundeye, your IP belong to us!”

And the really funny thing in all this is Apple will complain to the US Gov’t about this and the response will be for the DOJ to turn around and slap Kim Dotcom around again.

In Japan we know that the US is a paper tiger. How do we know this? Look at the Senkaku Islands issue. China would never have come into Japan’s backyard if they didn’t know that the US can’t protect our mutual interests in the region.

Anonymous Coward says:

Wait a minute? Is Apple now saying that it shouldn’t be held responsible for products that its app developers are placing in the Apple store?

Even if you get over the fact that Apple approves each and every app before it gets posted in the app store in iTunes, they’re trying the same defense that Pirate Bay, Demonoid, Megaupload and every file-sharing service in the world uses but think they should deserve special consideration?

hang a minute …


Had to get that out of my system. Apple, who maintains a tight stranglehold over what’s sold in its store is saying that it’s not responsible for the apps placed in their app store by app devs even though it’s Apple who approves each and every app?


Gotta love the idiots in charge at Apple.

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