Springer: “we have not yet seen harmful effects of eBook piracy and file sharing”

Springer: "we have not yet seen harmful effects of eBook piracy and file sharing" Piracy Piracy is often cited as a terrible problem and used as a justification for everything from illegal seizures of websites to SOPA.

As you can imagine, I have always regarded those claims as having little basis in reality, but I was frankly surprised today to learn that a publisher agrees with me.

Springer, one of the larger academic and technical publishers in the world, sent out an advisory letter recently. The letter brings Springer authors up to date on Springer's anti-piracy efforts, and it offers advice on how authors should evaluate the pirate sites they might come across.

So far as I can tell Springer's entire focus is on sending takedown notices.

“In order to protect our authors´ rights and interests, Springer proactively screens websites for illegal download links of Springer eBooks and subsequently requires hosts of such download sites to remove and delete the files or links in question,” they write. The letter goes on to say that "Our continuous efforts have lead in the Summer of 2013 to the success of deactivating the activities of illegal commercial sites selling our books at flat rates, e.g. the so-called“flat rate” shops."

According to Springer, they receive around 100 piracy notifications from authors each month and about half of all those reports are bogus. In fact, they make it seem like piracy is far less prevalent than a cursory Google search would lead you to believe.

The letter even includes several helpful tips that authors can use to tell that a given site isn't a serious piracy issue:

  • As a rule of thumb links with names like “fast download,” “direct download” or similar frequently turn out to be spam and are not critical in terms of piracy.
  • In many cases blogs or websites only claim to offer downloadable eBooks (without being able to offer any content) in order to generate traffic. They are considered spammers, too.
  • Sites that try to install a “downloader” should alert you. They probably do not offer any eBook content but will install potentially dangerous programs on your PC will install potentially dangerous programs on your PC.

The letter goes on to offer bad advice including that authors should avoid bittorrent clients because "Downloading content automatically means uploading content from your PC! This can cause legal trouble! We strongly recommend avoiding it!"

Never mind that any number of sources of legal content can be downlaoded via torrents, including Humble Indie Bundles (assuming you paid for it), software updates, Linux distros, and even ebooks from a few forward thinking authors and publishers (Paulo Coelho and Corey Taylor, for example).

But that's not the best part.  Springer starts off the letter by informing authors that:

In order to protect our authors´ rights and interests, Springer proactively screens websites for illegal download links of Springer eBooks and subsequently requires hosts of such download sites to remove and delete the files or links in question. This necessary action has become increasingly important with the growing number of eBooks within theSpringer eBook collection. While we have not yet seen harmful effects of eBook piracy and file sharing on our eBook portfolio, these are nevertheless considered serious topics.

Springer has yet to see any harmful effect from piracy. It almost makes you wonder why they're spending so much time and money doesn't it, doesn't it?

TorrentFreak

Scribd

 image by FantasyClay

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

7 Comments

  1. cookie20 August, 2013

    “larger academic and technical publishers in the world!

    Are their books even available in digital form? I don´t see why they would see harmful effects considering that in order to pirate their books you have to scan them.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder20 August, 2013

      In this day and age it would be more of a surprise if the publisher didn’t offer a half dozen different types of digital content, including ebooks, journals, subscription access, and more.

      Reply
  2. Jon Jermey21 August, 2013

    It doesn’t say much for an international publishing company when it can’t use the word ‘led’ correctly. And they don’t seem to know that uploads can be turned off in most torrent programs.

    Reply
  3. Name Required21 August, 2013

    “Downloading content automatically means uploading content from your PC! This can cause legal trouble! We strongly recommend avoiding it!”
    This is a great piece of advice.
    The authors should not install P2P programs and try to download their own books (to see whether this is really their book) because by doing so they are also uploading their own book.
    They are not talking about downloading of the latest image of your favorite Linux distribution, they are talking about downloading books.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder21 August, 2013

      Perhaps, but the advice is still misleading. It doesn’t say to avoid pirated content; it says to avoid torrents altogether. That makes about as much sense as the current “stranger danger” nonsense.

      Reply
  4. Johannes21 August, 2013

    Btw it’s not even a leak, they publish the same information on their website, word for word.

    http://www.springer.com/authors/book+authors?SGWID=0-154102-12-651599-0

    Bye
    Johannes

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder21 August, 2013

      Thanks!

      Reply

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