Apple Accused of Selling Pirate Books On App Store

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Pirated Chinese translations of books written by best-selling Japanese writers are being sold online by Apple. In a statement sent to the company today by a consortium of Japanese book publishers, the App Store operator is accused of not doing enough to ensure that it does not distribute copyright infringing material online.

pirateappleToday, a consortium of publishers which includes The Japan Book Publishers Association, The Electronic Book Publishers Association of Japan, The Japan Magazine Publishers Association and the Digital Comic Association, issued a press release in which they accuse Apple of infringing their members copyrights.

According to, Apple has been offering unauthorized copies of books by prominent Japanese authors Haruki Marakami and Keigo Higashino. Other Illicit books also available from Apple include works by 1994 Nobel Literature Prize winner, Kenzaburo Oe.

The architects of the pirate copies are believed to have scanned printed Chinese translations of the works (which include Haruki Murakami’s “1Q84“) and converted them into eBooks.

1q84The unauthorized copies of the books were accepted into the App Store by Apple and are thought to have been on sale since July this year.

The illicit version of “1Q84” was found to be identical to a Chinese translation published in Taiwan during 2009.

“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 from the publishers said.

The consortium added that they want to work with Apple to find more effective ways of keeping pirated books off the App Store, calling for the company to “act responsibly.” They also reject Apple’s claims that it isn’t able to check for copyrighted material during its App approval process.

In response, Apple said that determining who holds the copyright to submitted works would be a difficult and time-consuming addition to its App approval process. It added, however, that it takes copyright infringement issues seriously and will respond to the consortium’s allegations in due course.


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