Apple Sued Over Obscure War Film By China’s Media Regulator

It appears that the legal headaches have a soft corner for Apple. The tech giant is facing another legal lawsuit in one of its crucial overseas markets, China over rights to an obscure patriotic film, a Beijing court said last Thursday.

China’s media watchdog, The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), has filed a lawsuit against Apple, claiming that the tech giant has infringed its exclusive online rights to broadcast a film that depicts Chinese fighting against Japanese soldiers in northern China in the early 1930s.

The Chinese government agency claims it has incurred “huge economic losses” because Apple allowed Youku Tudou — the Chinese equivalent of YouTube — to broadcast the film “Xuebo Dixiao” to Apple TV users. According to a statement from a court in Beijing’s Haidian district, a grand total of $7,510 (50,000 yuan) in damages has been requested by the agency.

Currently, Youku Tudou is one of the largest video sharing services in China. The video was posted on Youku Tudou, so with the app published in Apple’s store, users could watch it without paying.

The case was “currently under further investigation”, the agency added.



The movie in question, “Xuebo Dixiao,” is a pro-China film that was filmed in 1994 and tells the story of a Chinese doctor who wants to open a hospital in the country but has to deal with Japanese forces. The title translates to “Bloody Fight With Our Brave Enemies.” However, what is interesting is that while the movie is already available for free online, the agency claims that Apple has violated its rights.

SAPPRFT has filed suit against both Apple and the Chinese video streaming platform Youku Tudou, according to a statement posted on the official website of the Beijing Haidian District People’s Court, where the case has been received.

It appears that an app called Youku Tudou is available for download in Apple’s app store. Currently, Youku Tudou is one of the largest video sharing services in China and is often considered to be the local version of YouTube. The video was posted on Youku, so with the app published in Apple’s store, users could watch it without paying.

This isn’t the first time SAPPRFT has given Apple grief. Thanks to the agency, the company had to shut down the iBookstore and iTunes Movies earlier this year.

It’s unbelievable that instead of the agency going after the streaming service directly, it is holding Apple responsible for videos posted on Youku Tudou. At this point, it appears like China is just throwing lawsuits at Apple for the heck of it. Just last month, Apple suffered another setback when a court ruled that a Chinese company is allowed to use the iPhone trademark on bags, wallets and other leather goods.