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Apple to pay a massive fine for copyright infringement in China

The iTunes Store is one-stop shop for apps, music, movies, ebooks and TV shows The iTunes Store is one-stop shop for apps, music, movies, ebooks and TV shows

A story of Apple getting caught up in a legal battle may certainly not be very newsworthy, except that the tables have turned this way against Apple.

Apple has been ordered to shell out a huge fine for copyright infringement by a court in Beijing, to the tune of 1 million yuan which comes to about $165,000.

According to the report by the Xinhua news agency, Apple is paying the penalty for having hosted a third-party app on its iTunes store which was apparently selling a number of pirated copies of popular Chinese books.

Eight Chinese writers and two companies will be getting compensation for theft of their intellectual property, as per the directions of Beijing No.2 Intermediate People's Court.

Pirated books sold through iTunes store
A team of authors had launched a lawsuit against Apple earlier this year alleging copyright infringement of their books, and demanded damages up to 10 million yuan.

The authors are apparently still not too happy with the ruling, because they feel that Apple should have been fined a much bigger amount.

"We are disappointed at the judgment. Some of our best-selling authors only got 7,000 yuan. The judgment is a signal of encouraging piracy," Bei Zhicheng, a representative for the group, reportedly said to Reuters.

Meanwhile, Apple has simply said in a statement that it takes copyright infringement very seriously, and is always updating its services to make sure that the rights of content owners are honored.

Piracy deeply rooted in China
The ruling highlights the growing menace of piracy in China. Every year, software companies lose millions of dollars in counterfeit sales.

It goes without saying that copyright infringement is quite rampant in China, although the Chinese government has stepped up its efforts to curb the menace.