Back in September, a Chinese court sided with China Publishing House in an infringement lawsuit against Apple, and ordered the iPad-maker to pay about $83,000 in damages. The publisher claimed Apple allowed an application into its App Store that contained large chunks if its Encyclopedia of China works without the proper licensing.

Naturally, Apple is now appealing the decision. And what the court decides from here could have some major consequences for the Cupertino company…

CNET points to the report by Jinghua Times:

“Apple asserts that the original judgment was incorrect, and in addition, that the financial compensation awarded is too high. Apple argued that as the store owner and not a third-party developer, it is not responsible for every individual application hosted in the App store. However, the court ruled in the favor of China Publishing House, which claimed that Apple has caused the publisher financial damages and loss — whereas in contrast, the tech giant was profiting from copyright infringement after allowing the app to be hosted in the App Store.”

Obviously, $83,000 is a drop in the bucket for Apple, who has more than $100 billion in the bank. But if the court denies Apple’s request for appeal here, it could open the flood gates for other content owners to sue the company over in-app plagiarized material. And given that there’s some 700 thousand apps in the App Store, that could add up rather quickly.

It’ll be interesting to see how this unfolds, because as far as I can see, there isn’t really a way Apple could avoid approving an app that has pirated content. The App Store team would have to read every word, of every app, and would then have to find a way to cross-check that content with all other existing works. And people say the app approval process is bad now.

What do you think, should Apple be held responsible here?