Territorial controls 'greatly important', says PA

Amazon should scrutinise and strengthen its e-book territorial controls after The Bookseller revealed how easy it was to buy US Kindle titles from the UK, the Publishers Association has said.

Richard Mollet, PA chief executive, told The Bookseller it was important to emphasise the need to make territorial rights secure online.

The Bookseller reported last week that it was able to crack Amazon’s controls and buy 10 US Kindle editions of titles from the UK.

Mollet said: “Online retailers should not ignore the territorial rights of publishers and this should be reflected throughout their websites. Their mechanisms to respect territoriality should be scrutinised and, where appropriate, strengthened to give publishers and authors piece of mind.”

Mollet stressed the “great importance” of the controls. He said: “Undermining territoriality goes against our copyright law and against the terms of the contract the UK publisher has with the author. Everybody loses out.”

The priority, he said, was to improve consumer experience of buying e-books online. “We are keen to discuss arrangements with Amazon and other online retailers and we have an open dialogue with them to ascertain what would be the best solution for these online territoriality issues while also improving consumer experience, which is the ultimate priority for us all.”

Although no specific discussion between Amazon and the PA has been scheduled, the trade body was looking forward to further meetings. Amazon was unavailable for comment.

Earlier this week Waterstone’s halted the sale of e-books to customers outside the UK and Ireland to comply with the legal demands of publishers regarding the territories into which it can sell digital titles.