BEIJING -- Technology giant Apple Inc. (IW 500/9) has been ordered to pay compensation to eight Chinese writers and two companies for selling unlicensed books online, state media reported.
Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple was ordered to pay a total fine of 1.03 million yuan ($165,908) to the plaintiffs for violating their copyrights, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.
The ruling was issued Thursday by the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court, the report said.
Xinhua quoted a lawyer for the plaintiffs as saying they had seen applications that contained unlicensed electronic versions of their books available for download last year.
The downloads were described as being in great quantity and resulted in large economic losses for the plaintiffs, the lawyer was quoted as saying.
According to Xinhua, the court decided that the plaintiffs' "right of communication through information networks" covered by China's copyright law had been violated by Apple through its provision of apps that included the unlicensed books.
"As an IP holder ourselves, we understand the importance of protecting intellectual property and take copyright infringement complaints very seriously," Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu said Friday.
"We're always updating our service to better assist content owners in protecting their rights."
Wu said the company's App Store provides customers in China with a selection of more than 700,000 apps created by the company's developer community.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012