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Apple appeals Chinese encyclopaedia ruling

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Apple has appealed a ruling by a Chinese court that it should pay $84,000 (£53,000) in damages over a pirated encyclopaedia in the App Store.

The Encyclopaedia of China Publishing House sued Apple after it found some of its copyrighted material on the store.

A poster touting apps available for the Apple's iPhone and iPod touch is seen at the Macworld Conference and Expo in San Francisco, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009

© PA Images / Paul Sakuma/AP

Apple headquarters

© PA Images / Paul Sakuma/AP



Apple attempted to argue that it was merely the store operator and therefore not responsible for the infringement.

But a Chinese court said in September that Apple was guilty because it had profited from the sale of the encyclopaedia, reports the Jinghua Times.

Apple will now appeal the ruling.

In a statement issued to The Next Web after the September ruling, Apple said: "The App Store offers customers in China access to an incredible selection of over 700,000 apps created by Apple's developer community.

"As an IP holder ourselves, Apple understands the importance of protecting intellectual property and when we receive complaints, as we did in this case, we respond promptly and appropriately."

Apple's appeal is not due to the level of damages, which it can easily afford, but because the ruling could set a worrying precedent for the future.

A salesclerk poses with new iPad Minis for the media at an Apple store in Seoul, South Korea

© PA Images / Ahn Young-joon/AP



This comes at a time of increasing questions over whether platform holders are liable for any infringing material they host.

In February, hundreds of Apple iPhone and iPod Touch users complained after being scammed by a fake version of the Pokemon Yellow game posted on the App Store.

Apple removed the app after being notified of the complaints, but questions remained over how it was approved in the first place.

Some have suggested that companies like Apple and Google should take a more proactive approach to removing material that infringes copyright, or is defaming.

Only this week, a court in Australia ordered Google to pay AUD200,000 in damages to a man whose name was wrongly associated with organised crime in web search results.

Google attempted to argue that it was not responsible for material posted by others, but the judge said that the search engine was equivalent to 'a library or newsagent', and so liable under Australian defamation laws.

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