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Publishers Win Pointless $37.5 Million Default Judgement Against Piracy Ring

9300923862_fcceeb763f_oPublishers won a symbolic victory this week in the fight against piracy.

Based on a press release put out by the International Publishers Association, The Bookseller reported on Thursday morning that a default judgement had been entered against a "global piracy ring":

The case of Elsevier Inc v Victor Kozlov and Pavel Kazutsin, which was brought to court as a joint action by the global publishing industry, concerned the defendants' websites Avaxhome and Avaxsearch, which illegally provided access to digital copies of millions of books, as well films, music, games and other copyrighted content.

In the case, the court found the ring liable for intentionally infringing copyright, and awarded damages, entering a $37.5m default judgement and handing down a permanent injunction against future infringements.

If there was a point to this lawsuit other than the PR value, I don’t know what it is.

When I first read about this story I looked for confirmation from secondary sources. I didn’t find any, but I did find enough details to convince me that this lawsuit had no value other than as a flashy headline.

To start with, the websites in question aren’t hosted in the US, aren’t registered in the US, and continue to operate without check. And so the piracy, assuming that any was going on, continues unabated.

Furthermore, the defendants named in The Bookseller article don’t live in the US, either. One lives in Israel (assuming I found the right Victor Kozlov). And according to the Whois info for the pirate sites, the other named defendant lives in Belarus.

Obviously all of that information could be fabricated or erroneous, but then again anyone who would make that much effort to lay a false trail has probably also taken steps to shield their assets from being seized.

And so that $37.5 million judgment is actually worth about as much as the paper it is printed on.

Or did I miss something?

image by thedescrier

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puzzled April 23, 2015 um 7:50 pm

It provides some precedence in the US, and may scare US based people from starting the same sort of sites.

Then again, since these sites are clearly illegal in the US, only complete idiots would start such sites in the US.

Nate Hoffelder April 23, 2015 um 8:01 pm

Actually, The Ultimate eBook Library (a known pirate site) claims to be based in the US. They act like they’re covered by the safe harbor exception because they respond to DMCA notices.

Thomas April 24, 2015 um 12:29 am

If they’re based in the US, why does their site URL have a Canadian suffix?

Nate Hoffelder April 24, 2015 um 7:31 am

Don’t know.

All I know is that they think complying with the DMCA makes them legal. That, and the last time I checked TUeBL had a US mailing address.

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