A famous Taiwanese blogger/novelist//filmdirector says
he was called an "idiot" by Apple's Hong Kong staff when he complained
about copyright infringement of his work.
Giddens Ko said he had noticed stories he had
written appearing illegally in Apple's App Store over the past few
However, the iPhone and iPad manufacturer refused to let Ko put about
50 works of fiction into the App Store in the form of free apps,
because the company said it faced difficulty in determining if he was
the legitimate copyright owner.
Ko -- who writes under two separate pen names -- says he wrote dozens of complaints to the company to no avail,
prompting him to head to Apple's Hong Kong office in Causeway Bay
the other day to pursue the matter in person.
Ko's manager Molly Fang Hsiao-ju said when he arrived staff members
asked him to file another written complaint. They refused to let him
see any staff and would not give him the name of the person in charge
of copyright matters.
Ko decided to write his complaint while he was in the Apple office and
asked his manager to record the process. Apple's staff demanded the
pair leave and delete the footage, Fang said, and security guards were
summoned to see them out.
"We did not film Apple's logo or its staff," she said. "In a voice
recording we made, there was one staff member calling us 'idiots' in Chinese."
Police later arrived at the scene but did not make the two delete the video.
As of yesterday, eight out of 10 apps found on the App Store in the
author's name were copyright-infringing, Fang said. Apple once removed
problematic apps when they reported them, but now new pirate copies
popped up after three months, she said.
Staff at Apple's Causeway Bay office refuse to comment on the issue.
The company's press department also did not respond to a written
inquiry from this blog.
Meanwhile, in related news, Shu Hui, Sabine Cheng and Ann Chen report for the Central
News Agency, a semi-government news agency in Taiwan, in a follow up story headlined "Popular Taiwanese author denies pursuing charges against Apple" that there's more here than meets the apple of your eye.
Ko said he did not pursue
copyright infringement charges against Apple Inc. for approving apps
using pirated content of his works.
He also refuted local Taipei media reports, which said that he decided to drop all
charges against Apple after having met with legal personnel at Apple's
headquarters in Hong Kong earlier this week.
Ko's agent also clarified the situation, saying Apple has
removed seven to eight apps with pirated content of Ko's works after
their visit in Hong Kong.
Ko, author of a popular novel and celebrity ''director'' of the popular film "You Are the Apple of My
Eye" based on the novel, recently told media that he has been filing complaints against
Apple for the past two years as several apps on the iTunes Store,
Apple's app store, had infringed upon his copyrights.
But the complaints were not taken seriously by Apple, he said.
He said Apple cited difficulty in discerning copyright as a reason for
refusing to remove apps allegedly violating copyright of his works.
Ko said he has also filed an application with the iTunes Store to
publish an app he jointly developed with a publishing company to allow
users to download 50 of his novels for free.
But Apple declined his application, citing reasons that the
description of the app was not clear and that it should be listed on
iBook, Apple's platform for e-books, instead.
Ko's agent said Tuesday they are still in the process of negotiating
with Apple for Ko's app to be published on the iTunes Store.
Where will this brouhaha end? Will Hong Kong's Apple people apologize for calling one of Taiwan's bright lights an "idiot" in both Cantonese and Mandarin? Stay tuned.