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In this Oct. 20, 2012 photo, Chinese people line up to enter a newly opened Apple Store in Wangfujing shopping district in Beijing. A Chinese court has ordered Apple Inc. to pay 1.03 million yuan ($165,000) to eight Chinese writers and two companies who say unlicensed copies of their work were distributed through Apple's online store.

Andy Wong/AP

A Chinese court has fined Apple Inc. 1 million yuan for hosting third-party applications on its App Store that were selling pirated electronic books, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.

Apple is to pay compensation of $165,000 (U.S.) to eight Chinese writers and two companies for violating their copyrights, the Beijing No.2 Intermediate People's Court ruled on Thursday, Xinhua said.

Earlier in the year, a group of Chinese authors filed the suit against Apple, saying an unidentified number of apps on its App Store sold unlicensed copies of their books. The group of eight authors was seeking 10 million yuan in damages.

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"We are disappointed at the judgment. Some of our best-selling authors only got 7,000 yuan. The judgment is a signal of encouraging piracy," Bei Zhicheng, a spokesman for the group, told Reuters.

Apple said in a statement that it takes copyright infringement complaints "very seriously".

"We're always updating our service to better assist content owners in protecting their rights," Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu said.

China has the world's largest Internet and mobile market by number of users, but piracy costs software companies billions of dollars each year.

Apple, whose products enjoy great popularity in China, has faced a string of legal headaches this year. In July, Apple paid 60 million yuan to a Chinese firm, Proview Technology, to settle a long-running lawsuit over the iPad trademark in China.

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