In the latest legal suit against the tech giant in the country, a subsidiary of China’s broadcasting regulator is suing Apple Inc. over a more than 20-year-old propaganda film.
A Beijing court says the case has been brought by a production center that alleges that Apple has infringed its exclusive online rights to broadcast a film — “Xuebo dixiao,” which loosely translates as “Bloody Fight with the Fierce Enemy”— that depicts Chinese fighting against Japanese soldiers in northern China in the early 1930s, the Associated Press reported.
Movie Satellite Channel Program Production Center, which comes under the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), is also suing the developer and operator of the Youku HD app available on Apple’s App Store that it says enabled users to watch the film and caused it “huge economic losses,” according to the Beijing Haidian District People’s Court.
Heyi Information and Technology (Beijing) Co. Ltd. develops and operates the Youku HD app of Youku Tudou, an online video site owned by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.
SARFT is seeking 50,000 yuan ($7,515) in total damages along with its “reasonable expenditure” of 20,158 yuan.
Apple did not respond to an emailed request for comment whereas Alibaba declined to comment, Forbes reported. Youku Tudou reportedly said it had no comment on the matter.
In April, the California-based tech giant was forced to suspend its iBooks and iTunes Movies services, reportedly due to an order by Chinese regulators. The following month, an intellectual property tribunal in Beijing ordered Apple to stop selling its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in the city because of similarities with a model made by a small Chinese brand. The sales, however, continue while Apple appeals.
Also in May, Apple suffered another setback when a court ruled that a Chinese company, Xintong Tiandi Technology, is allowed to use the iPhone trademark on bags, wallets and other leather goods.