Textbook Publishers File Suit Against Amazon Marketplace Sellers for Alleged Piracy
Cengage, McGraw-Hill, and Pearson have started a new round of lawsuits against textbook sellers.
The Financial Times reports that this time around the publishers are targeting defendants who sell through Amazon’s marketplace:
Three of the world’s largest textbook publishers have subpoenaed Amazon to reveal the names and financial accounts of online vendors who allegedly sell counterfeit books at “too good to be true” prices.
Pearson Education, Cengage Learning and McGraw Hill Education are suing 100 unnamed Amazon marketplace sellers for copyright infringement. In a complaint filed in New York federal court earlier this month, the publishers accused the sellers of “hiding behind the anonymity of internet pseudonyms” to profit from unauthorised copies of their books.
Amazon said it was working with the publishers to identify offenders and remove fraudulent items. “Amazon has zero tolerance for the sale of counterfeit items on our site,” said spokesman Erik Farleigh. “
We are taking legal action and aggressively pursuing bad actors,” he added, declining to specify what exactly that legal action would be. Amazon was not named a defendant in the lawsuit. However, the publishers said the ability of the vendors to sell through the world’s largest online retailer “causes even greater damage” to their businesses by “undercut[ting] sales and the perceived value of authorised and legitimate copies” of the books
If the filings are to be believed then every defendant is a filthy stinking pirate. But given that there are 100 accounts being targeted it would be unfair to tar them all with the same brush.
Some of these sellers might be completely innocent, and what with textbook publishers being textbook publishers, the sellers might be guilty of nothing more than importing textbooks, which as the courts have told us in Kirtsaeng v Wiley, is completely legal.
image by pmccormi