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Internet providers told to block unauthorised eBook websites

Thursday, May 28th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

The UK’s main internet service providers have been ordered by the High Court to block customer access to seven websites.

The websites in question help users find unauthorised copies of eBooks.

An investigation by The Publishers Association (PA) found that the sites, which are all based overseas, hold around 10m titles, of which more than 80% infringe copyright.

The PA applied to the High Court for a blocking order and Virgin Media, BT, Sky, TalkTalk and EE now have 10 days to act.

It is the first action of its kind brought by UK publishers, who have had the backing of their US counterparts the Association of American Publishers.

The sites subject to the order are AvaxHome, Ebookee, Freebookspot, Freshwap, Libgen, Bookfi and Bookre.

Between them, The PA and its members have issued nearly 1m take down requests to the sites in respect of their content.

In addition, rights owners have requested that Google remove from its search results more than 1.75m web addresses that link to copyright protected material on the sites.

'Damage'

The PA said the sites have been making “substantial sums of money”, primarily through referral fees and advertising, but none of the money had made its way back to the publishers or authors.

The PA’s CEO Richard Mollet said: “A third of publisher revenues now come from digital sales but unfortunately this rise in the digital market has brought with it a growth in online infringement.

“Our members need to be able to protect their authors’ works from such illegal activity; writers need to be paid and publishers need to be able to continue to innovate and invest in new talent and material.

“We are very pleased that the High Court has granted this order and, in doing so, recognises the damage being inflicted on UK publishers and authors by these infringing websites.”

As well as bringing legal action, The PA operates a Copyright Infringement Portal, which allows members to issue take down notices to websites.

It is also involved in the City of London Police’s Operation Creative, run out of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU).

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