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Japanese publishers censure Apple over App Store violations

App StoreA group of Japanese publishers are censuring Apple after copyrighted material was reportedly scanned and distributed through the iOS App Store. The group points to numerous App Store applications that are illegally re-publishing the works of well-known Japanese authors, including Haruki Murakami and Keigo Higashino.The Japanese group, which includes book, e-book, digital comic and magazine publishers, is requesting a meeting with Apple's Japan unit to discuss this problem with piracy.

Heightening the tension is Apple's response to these copyright violations. The Cupertino company says it does not have the resources to scan every app submission for copyright violations. Its current policy is to remove the app when a copyright violation is reported. This apparently is not sufficient for the Japanese publishers who claim this is "a wholly unconvincing explanation."

This dispute is reminiscent of the ongoing legal between YouTube and Viacom over copyrighted material that appears on the popular video website. From the start, Viacom has pushed YouTube to improve its pre-approval screening process to detect and filter out copyrighted material before it is published.

As the iPad and the iPhone continue to gain in popularity, look for this App Store copyright problem to continue. Right now the Japanese publishers are willing to talk, but other publishers may not be so amicable in the future. Let's hope Apple can work out any kinks before it's forced to duke it out in court.

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