Apple sued by Chinese animation studio over pirated materials in apps

Apple sued by Chinese animation studio over pirated materials in apps

Apple is being sued by a state-run animation studio in China over apps that contain unlicensed material from the studio. Shanghai Animation Film Studio is seeking total damages of 3.3 million yuan, or $530,000. The studio says that Apple violated the copyright of 110 of their films, which resulted in siginificant financial losses for the studio. According to M.I.C. Gadget:

The studio found Apple selling pirated copies of their works back in July last year, causing huge economic losses to the company while bringing profits to Apple as well as the application developers. Allegedly, a Chinese court has accepted the case, but there’s no details on when the first hearing will be.

This is another in a recent string of legal problems for Apple in China. They previously lost a similar case regarding unauthorized distribution of a Chinese encyclopedia. Additionally, they have been sued by a company claiming that Siri violates one of their patents. Last year, they were ordered to pay Proview $60 million over the Chinese trademark for the iPad.

Source: Sina Tech, via M.I.C. Gadget

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Joseph Keller

News Writer for Mobile Nations. Fascinated by the ways that technology connects us.

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Reader comments

Apple sued by Chinese animation studio over pirated materials in apps


Everybody has a lawsuit. I guess I should submit my lawsuit as well. You see the return key on your keyboard, I created that. Now I'm looking for a return on my invention.

That's an ignorant statement...although patent law is annoying and tedious -- an inventor or creator has authority to earn income on his or her invention. "Claims" aren't rewarded. In your case, can you PROVE you created the return key? No...Did you submit a patent before the "actual" creator ? You act as though people don't have proof when submitting lawsuits over patent/copyright infringement.

And besides, you're talking about copyrights but use a patent example. That's an invention -- this post is about copyright films. Did you know you have to ACTIVELY pursue infringements? Otherwise you lose the ability to protect it? Have you considered this company may HAVE to do this? What about the potential lose they incurred, which may or may not be significant?

Sorry, I don't mean to jump down your throat. But not all lawsuits are 'silly'; it should be understood. This company may not have a case, or they may and Apple could be held accountable. I'm just sayin...
Again, sorry for dropping down your throat. <3

Did Apple violate copyright or did someone make an app and submit it? Apple shouldn't be held responsible for every app in their store. Just send them a cease and desist.

It depends. There is the concept of "Contributory copyright infringement" ( ) which can hold a 3rd party responsible if they facilitate the infringement and materially benefit from it. Clearly, the App Store does both. However, in the US at least, it also requires the 3rd party be aware of the infringement, and that would be a lot harder to prove. I've also never seen it used against a retailer, though, if it ever were to be expanded that way, a store where the shopkeeper vets, examines the innards, and approves each submission would be a likely place to start.

Well, Shanghai Animation Film Studio is a part of the Shanghai Media & Entertainment Group, with a revenue of many billion dollars. A few hundred K is peanuts for them aswell. ;-)

It's hard to tell which lawsuits are legit (like the Brazilian iPhone from 2000) and which aren't. Not sure which this is.

Apple will just put this on the books as cost of goods sold. These things are kind of ridiculous especially when it deals with other countries. The lawyers for Apple must be making bank. It seems like everyday there is a new lawsuit. Well I guess when you are the best everyone wants a slice.

After a $60 million loss with Proview, $530,000 is nothing for Apple. It's crazy how many legal battles Apple is confronted with. Always makes an interesting read though. Interested in seeing the results of this case..

I'm not really sure about how this could pan out. I can understand the frustration of this chinese animation studio; however, apple has to be aware of the fact that they new it was infringing. This is incredibly hard to prove; in addition, I seriously doubt they would do such a thing. Then again, this IS Apple, anything can happen here.

I'm with pinpoint007. With a country like China, it seems almost ironic that a copyright lawsuit is actually coming FROM a company there... with China's...particular stance on the subject.