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Japanese publishers accuse Apple of breaking copyright

updated 09:15 am EST, Tue December 14, 2010

Company not policing App Store, groups say

A consortium of Japanese book publishers are demanding that Apple stop selling pirated novels through the App Store, says Agence France-Presse. "We have no choice but to deem it illegal that Apple Inc. distributes materials which clearly violate copyright," reads a statement by the consortium. Parties to the group include the Japan Book Publishers Association, the Japan Magazine Publishers Association, the Electronic Book Publishers Association of Japan and the Digital Comic Association.

In particular, the consortium says that pirated books from authors like Haruki Murakami and Keigo Higashino are being sold through the App Store without response. "Some of the works have been deleted in response to requests from authors and publishers but a majority of them continue to be illegally distributed," the statement continues. The consortium asks that Apple set up a section to handle deletion requests and piracy in general.

Apple Japan has so far only issued a brief reply. "We fully understand the importance of intellectual property including copyright," it reads. "We will promptly and appropriately respond to complaints about violation of copyright."

by MacNN Staff



  1. Eldernorm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Is it Apple or App sellers

    I am guessing that it is not Apple but App sellers or iTunes sellers that are breaking copywrite if in fact there is any law breaking being done.

    Apple has money. Apple is big. Sue Apple for all the wrongs in the world. Apple will make them stop.

    Yea,,, right.

    Just a thought,

  1. Inkling

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple's Hubris

    Sigh, this is yet another indication that Apple is clueless when it comes to marketing and selling books. They're like a reasonably talented lawyer who thinks that success in law means he only needs to walk into an OR to become a world-class brain surgeon. "We have an online bookstore," they seem to be thinking, "therefore we know more about selling ebooks than anyone else." Not so.

    Illustrations of just how clueless Apple is:

    * It's trying to push publishers into making multi-media ebooks that readers have never shown any indication of wanting and that publishers (who lack Apple's billions in cash reserves) can't afford to create. And that despite the fact that there's not a single application that can create anything more than the most basic of epub documents. It Apple wants multi-media filled books, then Apple should create an app that can make them.

    Don't forget that publishers and authors quite reasonably want an ebook market where they don't have to create separate, hand-tweaked editions for every distributor: one for Amazon, one for B&N, and a glitzy one that only iPads can display that is created at their expense for Apple. A Business 101 course would teach Apple staff that publishers aren't interesting in spending their limited money so Apple can sell a few more iPads.

    * For authors, Apple offers a contract that seems premised on the idea that only it knows how to price and sell ebooks, a contract that dictates pricing and sales conditions that ought to be matters worked out between an author and his publisher. And that from an online bookstore with only a modest share of the sales. Hubris was the Greek word for that attitude, the sort of pride that precedes disaster.

    * For readers with i-gadgets (especially the iPad), Apple offers a free Winne-the-Pooh ebook that's a textbook example of how not to layout and format a book. Junior high students could do better, perhaps because they wouldn't be seduced by the silly idea that, "Oh, it has color pictures, it must be good." They'd look at the lines in the book, some with wide spacing between words and some with almost none, and say "That's ugly." And they'd be right. No one at Apple in a position of authority seems to have taken Typography 101 seriously.

    * For readers, Apple has yet to offer what Amazon, B&N and a host of other digital bookstores offer, readers that work on all the major platforms. Books bought from the iBookstore only work on i-devices. They won't even run on Macs, and we have no idea when that will change. It's also easy to suspect that no one will ever be able to read an ebook bought from Apple on a Droid or other smartphone.

    * And now Apple has shown itself clueless about copyright law (at least in Japan). They've apparently yet to learn the difference between music, where the hottest titles are typically owned by a few giant labels, and book publishing, where even a small publisher may have a popular title. And for all their niggling about which apps get in the app store, they've yet to learn to show any legal discernment about what books get into their bookstore. In short, there's no evidence they've taken Copyright Law 101 either.

    Apple needs to learn a bit of humility and adopt a willingness to listen and offer help rather than to dictate, top-down, as if it'd been editing, publishing and marketing books as long as it has been selling computers. Apple is acting like it's the top player in an ebook market in which it's barely a major player. Amazon, the top player, may be making blunders and using bullying tactics that are outraging publishers and authors, but Apple doesn't seem to know enough to take advantage of that.

    That's unfortunate, because ebooks need a open, healthy, competitive marketplace and not one where a few corporate giants like Apple and Amazon blunder about, attempting to manipulate the market to their advantage.

  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The first point of argument is incorrect, thereby significantly reducing credibility of the rest of the text (into which I won't go):

    "* For authors, Apple offers a contract that seems premised on the idea that only it knows how to price and sell ebooks, a contract that dictates pricing and sales conditions that ought to be matters worked out between an author and his publisher."

    The fundamental difference between Amazon's "one-price-fits-all" model and Apple's iBookStore is that Apple DOES NOT tell authors/publishers how much they should charge for their book. All Apple does is take their cut, which was smaller than what Amazon used to take before iBookStore went live.

    You DON'T need to develop interactive, multi-media e-Book in order to sell on iBookStore. Ordinary e-Books are accepted as well.

    And to infer that Apple is clueless (or ignorant) about copyright is quite disingenuous (to put it extremely diplomatically). In the ocean of 200,000 (or more) apps, the current review process simply does NOT allow the reviewers to take the time and carefully research the issues of ownership of content in such an app with respect to all jurisdictions from which content may come. Same thing for books, which come through various publishers. The burden simply cannot be on Apple for such tasks. Obviously, as soon as the original owner of IP makes it know that their rights are being violated, Apple will, no doubt, take the requested action immediately. They have been doing it since day one, and they have said so much in this particular case as well. Hubris here is more likely on the part of these publishers. The easiest way to attract publicity is to somehow be embroiled in a dispute with Apple.

  1. facebook_Gabe

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Dec 2010



    after chinese companies have been making illegal copies of anything and everything and mass producing the illegal copies - this is quite a funny article LOL

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