Tech Law


Man Bites Dog: China Fines Apple for Copyright Infringement

A Chinese court fined Apple 1 million yuan, or roughly US$160,000, because its App Store hosted third-party applications that were peddling pirated e-books.

Bloomberg reports that the ruling stems from a suit brought by a group of Chinese authors earlier this year. The group originally was seeking 10 million yuan.

There is a hint of irony in China fining an American company for piracy. The U.S. has claimed for years that China is willfully negligent about piracy of American music, television and movies. Indeed, Apple itself has been the victim of rather egregious piracy in China.

China (Further) Tightens Screws on Nation’s Internet

On Friday, the Chinese government issued new rules that will require users to provides their real names to Internet services providers. The rules will also delegate more responsibility to Internet companies when it comes to deleting and reporting forbidden posts — that is, anything anti-Party, pornographic, pro-free speech or otherwise rabble-rousing.

The New York Times reports that the decision to impose tougher Internet rules follows restrictions on China’s international Internet traffic, namely measures that make it difficult for businesses to protect commercial secrets and for people to view foreign websites that Beijing deems inappropriate. The foreign blacklist includes, among others, The New York Times, which in October published an article discussing the fortune accumulated by one of China’s top politicians, Web Jiabao.

Friday’s rule change will reportedly allow users to continue using online pseudonyms, but only after providing genuine personal details.

Sticking with the “Chinese topics that get endless media coverage” theme for a moment, The New York Times also has a massive article about changes — positive ones — taking place in China’s electronics factories, including the infamous Apple supplier Foxconn.

UK Porn Studio Broadens Pirate Hunt

Golden Eye, a pornographic film outfit, plans to broaden its efforts to receive compensation from people who pirated adult films, according to the BBC.

Golden Eye has been seeking reparations for the piracy of its films, and it now wants to do the same for other porn makers who are getting pinched by piracy. A Golden Eye spokesman said he planned to head to the U.S. to share the company’s enforcement methods.

Golden Eye, which had previously been barred from offering its collection services to other rights holders, keeps about 75 percent of the money it collects from people who pirate porn.

Last year, Golden Eye fought to make Internet service provider O2 divulge some 9,000 names of people suspected of pirating porn. Golden Eye was granted access to about 2,800, but that hasn’t slowed down its pursuit of pirates.

PlayStation 2 Set for Retirement

Sony’s PlayStation 2, which was the eminent game console at the turn of the century, will be fazed out by Sony.

The 13-year-old system has sold more than 150 million units, according to GamenGuide, making it the most popular game console of all time. Sony says that PS2 has more than 10,000 titles and has sold 1.5 billion games.

PS2 debuted in Japan in March 2000, and in the US that October. With its ability to play games, CDs and DVDs, PS2 was at one point the cheapest DVD player on the market, according to GamenGuide.

RIM Coughs Up $65 Million to Nokia

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion paid Nokia about $65 million as a first step toward settling the companies’ patent dispute.

RIM and Nokia agreed on a settlement last week that would force RIM to make a “one-time payment and on-going payments,” according to All Things Digital. Until a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the size of RIM’s “one-time payment” wasn’t yet known.

Last month, Nokia pursued an injunction against RIM products.

David Vranicar is a freelance journalist and author ofThe Lost Graduation: Stepping off campus and into a crisis. You can check out hisECT News archive here, and you can email him at david[dot]vranicar[at]newsroom[dot]ectnews[dot]com.

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