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Chinese writers double request for damages in Apple piracy suit

In a revision to a December filing, nine Chinese writers claiming that Apple has been selling pirated versions of their work on its App Store nearly doubled the amount they are demanding from the company, and now seek a compensatory payout of over $3.6 million.

The group of writers, who filed the revised claim in Beijing's Second Intermediate People's Court on Wednesday under the name China Written Works Copyright Society (CWWCS), allege that unlicensed copies of their books have been repurposed as apps and are being sold through Apple's App Store, reports Macworld.

CWWCS is now asking for 23 million yuan ($3.65 million), or nearly double the 11.9 million yuan ($1.89 million) in damages that was first sought as part of the original complaint. The inflation of damages stems in part from new evidence that an additional 26 infringing products had been added to the App Store following the initial lawsuit.

In a January hearing, CWWCS claimed that when the Cupertino, Calif., company was notified about the pirated content, it was slow to remove the offending products and in some cases refused to delete the content altogether. The group said that Apple has known about the problem since July, 2011.

Executive for CWWCS, Bei Zhicheng, said that Apple allegedly allowed the sale of 59 unauthorized apps which featured content produced by the nine members. He claims that the iPad maker told the authors to contact the pirate developers and resolve the issue on their own.

Author Murong Xuecun, left, and CWWCS Executive Bei Zhicheng. | Source: The Asahi Shimbun

Just as it does with all iTunes sales, Apple takes a 30 percent cut from each App Store purchase, and the company recently announced over $4 billion has been paid out to app developers as of the first quarter of 2012.

In total, CWWCS estimates the infringing apps have been downloaded over one million times.