By Khurram Aziz email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Dec 29, 2012 10:52 AM EST
A Chinese court has ordered Apple to pay $165,000 to eight Chinese writers and two companies whose work was made available on the App Store without permission.
The decision of the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court follows a November ruling which ordered Apple to pay $84,000 to the Encyclopedia of China Publishing House for copyright infringement in a separate case.
Both sums are a pittance compared to the more than $5.7 billion Apple generated in sales in China in the last quarter through till September - amounting to roughly 16 percent of the company's global total.
The plaintiffs in this case said they spotted applications containing unlicensed electronic versions of their books available for download last year, adding that the books were downloaded in large numbers.
The court concluded that Apple violated the plaintiffs' "right of communication through information networks," and it had also failed to carry out its duties regarding the care of apps it provides online, according to the Xinhua news agency.
"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 spokesman for the eight writers, told Reuters.
The group had asked for more than $1.6 million when they first filed the case.
Apple said in a statement that it takes copyright infringement complaints "very seriously."
"We're always updating our service to better assist content owners in protecting their rights," said Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu.
Apple has had to deal with several intellectual property headaches in China. In July it paid struggling technology firm Proview over $80 million to buy the "iPad" trademark which was threatening the sales of its flagship tablet in the country.