Joint Press Release of the International Publishers Association and the German Publishers and Booksellers Association Publishers Strike Major Blow against Internet Piracy Geneva, 15 February 2012

Yesterday, an international alliance of publishers and publishers’ associations achieved an important success in the combat against internet piracy. Despite significant technical and legal obstacles, the alliance was able to locate the alleged operators of both the sharehoster service and the link library, and successfully served judicial cease-and-desist orders on both.

The two entities created and operated an "internet library" which made available illegally more than 400,000 high quality e-books for immediate, free and anonymous download. The operators generated an estimated turnover of EUR 8 million (USD 10,602,400) from advertising revenues, donations and sales of premium-level accounts, thereby ranking the sites among the top piracy websites in the world.

"Today, the international book industry has shown that it continues to stand up against organised copyright crime." says Jens Bammel, Secretary General of the International Publishers Association. "We will not tolerate freeloaders who make unjustified profits by depriving authors and publishers of their due reward. This is an important step towards a more transparent, honest and fair trade of digital content on the Internet.”

“This case demonstrates, in particular in the context of current debates, that systematic copyright infringement has developed into a highly criminal and lucrative business. The fight against piracy is not an impediment on one’s freedom of expression, but a necessity to reinstate the rule of law on the internet. It is not only in the interest of the thousands of people who dedicate their working lives to the development of our cultural heritage, but first of all in the interest of the authors who depend on fair compensation for their work. Whoever ignores how these issues are intertwined, seriously threatens the cultural diversity in our country.“ says Alexander Skipis, CEO of Börsenverein (German Publishers and Booksellers Association).

The close ties between a sharehoster service and a link library meant that the targeted entities were particularly harmful as all illegally uploaded copyright works were made immediately accessible to all internet users. The international publishers were able to assert extensive claims against the service providers who had partially concealed their identities. They were able to obtain a total of 17 interim injunctions from the Landgericht (regional court) of Munich I, and successfully served these in Ireland. In doing this, the participating publishers demonstrate their continued determination to not simply ignore copyright piracy, but to fight the large illegal platforms with all available legal measures.

The international alliance of publishers is coordinated by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association (Börsenverein), the International Publishers Association and German law firm Lausen. The participating publishing houses are Cambridge University Press, Georg Thieme, Harper Collins, Hogrefe, Macmillan Publishers Ltd., Cengage Learning, Elsevier, John Wiley & Sons, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Pearson Education Ltd., Pearson Education Inc., Oxford University Press, Springer, Taylor & Francis, C.H. Beck as well as Walter De Gruyter. The legal proceedings are also supported by the Association of American Publishers (AAP), the Dutch Publishers Association (NUV), the Italian Publishers Association (AIE) and the International Association of Scientific Technical and Medical Publishers (STM).

About the case

For more information on the legal action, please refer to the background document available here

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