Last July, a group of Chinese authors petitioned Apple to stop distributing their books through multiple apps in the App Store. The group, called the Writers Rights Alliance, is now suing Apple for US$1.88 million for allegedly hosting pirated books.
The nine writers in the group say that 37 of their works have been sold as pirated copies on the App Store, with Apple of course taking a 30 percent cut from the proceeds. Apple refused to remove the books from the App Store after being asked in July of 2011, noting that there was not enough evidence to provide that the works were unlicensed.
Authors are frustrated with the slow pace at which Apple removes the pirated ebooks, with the executive for the Writers Rights Alliance noting that it sometimes takes two to three months before the pirated versions are canceled. Once that's done, new pirated versions often pop up.
According to the group, some of the pirated ebooks may have seen more than a million downloads without the authors receiving revenue from Apple. The company has told the group to contact the developers creating and selling the products, but the Alliance says that the contact information for developers is often bogus.
This won't be the last we hear of the Writers Rights Alliance. They're expected to file another lawsuit against Apple after January, seeking damages for alleged piracy on behalf of ten other authors.