Chinese authors file million dollar lawsuit against Apple

By Tom Hancock

Six Chinese authors, including best selling novelist Han Han, plan to sue Apple’s Appstore for over a million dollars in lost income, Chinese media has reported.

An alliance of authors has already filed a case with Beijing’s second people’s court, reports said. The alliance plans to sue Apple on grounds of copyright infringement, claiming that at least 23 books were illegally sold on the App Store. The alliance is demanding compensation of 6,500,000 RMB (US$1,019,687) from Apple.

A press conference held by the author's alliance earlier this year.

The alliance’s spokesperson Pui Checheng said that Apple had illegally allowed downloads of the author’s works, and enjoyed profits from the downloads. Pu said that several more authors are planning to sue Apple for lost profits.

The alliance was formed earlier this year, when their authors announced their intention to take legal measures against Apple. At the time, Pu said that Apple’s App Store allows downloads of pirated books, making a 30% profits on sales. He estimated that this piracy has led to at least one billion yuan (around US$154 million) in losses for China’s publishing industry, suggesting that compensation demands from future lawsuits could be even higher.

This isn’t the first time Chinese authors have worked together to combat apparent infringement of their copyright. This March, China’s biggest search engine Baidu deleted 3 million documents from its online document store after an alliance of 40 writers, including Han Han, wrote a letter to the company demanding the removal of their works from the site, AFP reported.