Global Publishers Win Ruling to Stop Rapidshare from Profiting from Pirated Works
File-Sharing Site Ordered to Prevent Illegal Distribution of Copyrighted Content
Six global publishers have obtained an injunction against Swiss-based Rapidshare AG that is an important step toward holding Internet companies accountable for threatening authors’ livelihoods and publishers’ ability to invest in and develop quality content and resources. Plaintiffs in the case were Bedford, Freeman and Worth Publishing Group, LLC a subsidiary of Macmillan; Cengage Learning Inc.; Elsevier Inc; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.; and Pearson Education, Inc.
The judgment handed down by a German court in Hamburg on February 10, 2010, ordered Rapidshare to implement measures to prevent illegal file sharing of the 148 copyright-protected works cited in the lawsuit, which was filed on February 4, 2010. The court ruled that Rapidshare must monitor its site to ensure the copyrighted material is not being uploaded and prevent unauthorized access to the material by its users. The company is subject to substantial fines for non-compliance. Rapidshare collects monthly fees from many of its users and encourages the unauthorized uploading of content with a variety of reward programs.
Jonathan Harbour, an author and college professor whose book on gaming was among those found on Rapidshare.com without permission, explained why he wanted his title included in the lawsuit: “After spending years of my life writing and refining my book, it is truly demoralizing to see it up on an Internet share site free for download within days of publication. Companies like Rapidshare derive substantial profit by facilitating the theft of the work of others, adding no value to the creative process and providing no compensation to the creators.”
He continued, “What really troubles me is that too many people who download copyrighted books from these sites do not realize it is illegal to do so, or they think that copyright infringement has no victims. The truth is that when people illegally download a book, they are stealing from one of the hundreds of thousands of creative people who are not celebrities and who work hard to make ends meet.” The plaintiffs in this case have alleged that Rapidshare encourages, facilitates, and profits from such behavior.
Speaking on behalf of the publisher plaintiffs, Tom Allen, CEO of the Association of American Publishers, said, “This ruling is an important step forward. Not only does it affirm that file-sharing copyrighted content without permission is against the law, but it attaches a hefty financial punishment to the host, in this case Rapidshare, for noncompliance. Consider this a shot across the bow for others who attempt to profit from the theft of copyrighted works online.”
Mr. Allen elaborated on why unchecked copyright infringement could have serious consequences for our culture at large: “Without the ability to earn a living from their work, authors will not have the incentive to create books in the first place. Moreover, publishers won’t be able to develop powerful content resources and educational tools that help to improve the academic and professional performance of the people who use them. Quality and reliability would suffer, and distinguishing credible, quality information from that which is unreliable and untrustworthy would become a gargantuan task. If that happens, we all lose.”
About Bedford, Freeman & Worth and Macmillan
Bedford, Freeman & Worth Publishing Group, LLC (“BFW”) is a leading publisher of educational content and resources used by colleges and universities worldwide. BFW’s imprints include Bedford/St. Martins, W.H. Freeman and Company, and Worth Publishers. BFW is part of Macmillan, a group of America’s leading book publishers and educational content companies. Macmillan’s operations include St. Martin’s Press; Farrar Strauss & Giroux; Henry Holt; Picador; Tor; Macmillan Audio; Macmillan Children’s; Bedford, Freeman, and Worth; i>clicker; and Hayden McNeil. For more information, visit www.macmillan.com
About Cengage Learning
Cengage Learning delivers highly customized learning solutions for colleges, universities, professors, students, libraries, government agencies, corporations and professionals around the world. These solutions are delivered through specialized content, applications and services that foster academic excellence, professional development, and measurable learning outcomes. Cengage Learning’s existing company and imprint brands include Heinle, Gale, Wadsworth, Delmar, Brooks/Cole and South-Western, among others. For more information on Cengage Learning please visit www.cengage.com.
Elsevier is a world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. The company works in partnership with the global science and health communities to publish more than 2,000 journals. A global business headquartered in Amsterdam, Elsevier employs 7,000 people worldwide. The company is part of Reed Elsevier, a world-leading publisher and information provider.
About The McGraw-Hill Companies
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor’s, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts, Capital IQ, J.D. Power and Associates, McGraw-Hill Construction and Aviation Week. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2008 were $6.4 billion. Additional information is available at www.mcgraw-hill.com.
Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education and education technology, reaches and engages today’s digital natives with effective and personalized learning, as well as dedicated professional development for their teachers. This commitment is demonstrated in the company’s investment in innovative print and digital education materials for preK through college, student information systems and learning management systems, teacher professional development, career certification programs, and testing and assessment products that set the standard for the industry. The company’s respected brands include eCollege, Prentice Hall, Addison Wesley, Benjamin Cummings, Allyn & Bacon/Merrill, Longman and many others. For more information, go to www.pearson.com.
Founded in 1807, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (NYSE:JW.a and JW.b), has been a valued source of information and understanding for 200 years, helping people around the world meet their needs and fulfill their aspirations. Since 1901, Wiley publishes scientific, technical, medical and scholarly journals, encyclopedias, books, and online products and services; professional/trade books, subscription products, training materials, and online applications and websites; and educational materials for undergraduate and graduate students and lifelong learners. Wiley’s global headquarters are located in Hoboken, New Jersey, with operations in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Canada, and Australia. The Company’s Web site can be accessed at www.wiley.com.