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Ebook sites added to ISPs' blacklists

Barry Collins
28 May 2015
Kindle Voyage
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Publishers force broadband providers to block pirate eBook sites for the first time

The High Court has ordered Britain's leading broadband providers to ban sites offering pirated eBooks for the first time. Movie studios, record labels and The Premier League have previously used the courts to put blocks on more than 100 sites accused of distributing copyrighted material, but this is the first time book publishers have taken such action. 

The Publishers Association won the order against seven sites, which will be blocked by Britain's five biggest ISPs within the next week. "These sites, all based overseas, have been infringing copyright on a massive scale," the Publishers Association claims in a statement. "Investigations undertaken by The PA found that over 80% of the material available on the sites (and in some cases over 90%) infringes copyright."

In addition to blacklisting the seven sites, the Publishers Association has also been issuing a barrage of takedown notices to force Google to remove the sites from search listings. The association claims it has asked Google to remove links to 1.75 million URLs hosting copyrighted material, although it doesn't reveal how many of those applications have been successful.

The Publishers Association claims the sites were offering in the region of 10 million titles for free. "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," said Richard Mollet, the organisation's chief executive. "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."

The biggest beneficiary of the publishers' clampdown in likely to be Amazon. The retailer accounts for 95% of the eBook sales in the UK, according to the UK Booksellers Association. Although Amazon wasn't involved in the court action, it has made its own efforts to drag users away from piracy. It recently launched Kindle Unlimited, which gives customers access to a library of 700,000 books for £7.99 per month. Amazon Prime subscribers can also "borrow" thousands of titles from the Kindle store and get free access to four pre-release titles each month.  

 

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