International publisher alliance shuts down piracy site

An international alliance of publishers, including Cambridge University Press, Elsevier and Pearson Education Ltd, has served successful cease-and-desist orders on a piracy operation with an estimated turnover of £7m.

The two platforms, sharehoster service www.ifile.it and link library www.library.nu, had together created an "internet library" making more than 400,000 e-books available as free illegal downloads. The operators generated an estimated turnover of €8m (£6.7m) through advertising, donations and sales of premium-level accounts, according to a report by German law firm Lausen which helped co-ordinate the alliance.

The other publishers involved also comprised Georg Thieme; HarperCollins; Hogrefe; Macmillan Publishers Ltd; Cengage Learning; John Wiley & Sons;the McGraw-Hill Companies; Pearson Education Inc; Oxford University Press; Springer; Taylor & Francis; C H Beck; and Walter De Gruyter. The alliance was also co-ordinated by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association (Börsenverein) and the International Publishers Association (IPA),

Jens Bammel, secretary general of the IPA, said: "Today, the international book industry has shown that it continues to stand up against organised copyright crime.

"We will not tolerate freeloaders who make unjustified profits by depriving authors and publishers of their due reward. This is an important step towards a more transparent, honest and fair trade of digital content on the Internet," he said.

Alexander Skipis, Börsenverein c.e.o., added: "This case demonstrates, in particular in the context of current debates, that systematic copyright infringement has developed into a highly criminal and lucrative business."