Apple is currently being sued by a group of Chinese writers, who are accusing the company of copyright infringement over some books on offer in its app store. It’s an ironic turn of events, given that Apple has been battling extensive copyright infringement of its own in the country, in the form of counterfeit products.
The group of nine writers, operating under the China Written Works Copyright Society, claim that some 37 works have been published in Apple’s App Store without their agreement. Their 12-billion-yuan ($11.9 million) lawsuit entered formal proceedings in Beijing last week, according to the English edition of the Chinese business news site Caixin Online.
The group includes pop culture figure Han Han, a politically-controversial author, Li Chengpeng, as well as other popular writers like Cang Yue and Murong Xuecun, the report says. There’s a screenshot of a Murong Xuecun app pictured here. Developed by “Portege Pte”, it’s unclear whether this is one of the authorized or unauthorized works.
As with other paid apps and books in Apple’s App Store, Apple takes a 30 percent commission on every purchase.
There have been two other suits against Apple over ebooks: one involving an individual writer and other concerning a group of six authors. It’s not clear in these past cases if the portals in question made financial settlements when dealing with the cases.
China is a significant strategic investment the company, which has made a big push into China in the last year—ramping up its retail presence, making its App Store more local-currency-friendly, and (if you believe reports) even expanding its production in the country.