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Apple fined by Chinese court for ebook copyright infringement

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Authors in China have been going after Apple for allowing unofficial ebooks to be sold through its online stores, and now it's going to cost the company — to the tune of ¥1.03 million (approximately $165,170). Chinese news agency Xinhua reports that a Beijing court has ordered Cupertino to pay the sum, spread out amongst eight writers and two companies, for infringing upon their respective copyrights. According to the parties, applications have been available for download in the App Store in China that included the infringed works, leading to a loss of income for the writers. The court found that Apple violated Chinese copyright law by allowing the sale of the apps, and also proved negligent in maintaining the selection of apps it offered in the first place.

As The Wall Street Journal points out that this is actually the second such decision Apple's faced in China in the last few months, with a September ruling mandating the company pay ¥520,000 yuan (roughly $83,387) to a Chinese encyclopedia publisher for a similar offense. While the decisions are certainly symbolic victories, such paltry amounts will have almost zero impact on Apple financially. Whether they'll be enough to jostle the company into making sure the problem doesn't occur again remains to be seen.