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Publishers Fight Back Against Copyright Attacks & Piracy

This is the second article in a four-part series examining the threat of piracy today and how Digimarc's Piracy Intelligence service helps publishers and authors fight back. Read the first installment on the importance of human verification of piracy links.

Hundreds of millions of people have been spending more time at home due to COVID-19 and this has exacerbated the problem of ebook piracy. While some piracy site operators have defied copyright laws for years, other operators have used the global crisis to expand their infringement, prompting some publishers to fight back with lawsuits.

In June the Internet Archive created a “National Emergency Library” making it easy for readers to download ebooks without waiting lists, a practice that flies in the face of copyright protections and the legal license agreements held by America’s public libraries. Publishers have subsequently pushed back, filing a lawsuit claiming the Internet Archive was engaged in “mass copyright infringement.”

The lawsuit, which includes publishers such as Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins and Penguin Random House, claims in its filings, “[The Internet Archives’] goal of creating digital copies of books and providing them to whomever wants to download them reflects a profound misunderstanding of the costs of creating books, a profound lack of respect for the many contributors involved in the publication process, and a profound disregard of the boundaries and balance of core copyright principles.”

This action was followed in July, by another group of litigants, who are suing the well-known, Ukrainian-based piracy site, KISS Library. The Authors Guild, Amazon Publishing and Penguin Random House have filed suit in federal court, claiming the site and its operators are illegally copying, distributing and selling works.

One of the main challenges of sites such as KISS Library is that they carry popular commercial titles and can appear to U.S. consumers as legitimate book retailing sites. “Unlike authorized sites that pay for the books they sell, KISS Library keeps all the proceeds that it illegally obtains from American readers. Not a single penny goes to the authors or publishers that produce the books,” said Mary Rasenberger, executive director of The Authors Guild.

The challenge of ebook piracy also briefly touched upon U.S. presidential politics, when pirated PDF editions of the book The Room Where it Happened by former national security adviser John Bolton, appeared online.

A Pirate-Fighting Portal

While many antipiracy vendors focus on movies, TV, and music piracy, Digimarc’s Piracy Intelligence services specializes in literary asset protection. We work with publishers such as Hachette Livre and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and understand the unique challenges publishing houses face when protecting their authors’ works.

Our easy-to-use piracy portal was built specifically to address the nuances of the ebook piracy ecosystem. This means busy publishing teams—most whom have very little time to spare for antipiracy work—can access the portal, and quickly understand which titles are being pirated, where the piracy is occurring and the enforcement actions being taken.

Other benefits of Digimarc’s portal:

  • Save Time for Legal Teams – The portal presents a complete picture of what’s happening with pirated works, so teams don’t need to investigate evidence from disparate sources.
  • Customizable Report - Filter data, build reports and set scheduling parameters to deliver timely content automatically to a designated inbox.
  • Easily Submit Suspicious Links - Send suspected piracy link directly to us and then track the evaluation progress and reports in the portal.

Over three million publications are globally protected by Digimarc’s service. Get a free demo of our piracy intelligence service.

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