Copyright infringers fined $37.5m

Copyright infringers fined $37.5m

A global piracy ring has been found guilty in a US federal court of intentionally infringing copyright, sharing copies of books from up to 16,000 international publishers. The maximum damages allowed under US law - $37.5m – were awarded.

The case of Elsevier Inc v Victor Kozlov and Pavel Kazutsin, which was brought to court as a joint action by the global publishing industry, concerned the defendants' websites Avaxhome and Avaxsearch, which illegally provided access to digital copies of millions of books, as well films, music, games and other copyrighted content.

In the case, the court found the ring liable for intentionally infringing copyright, and awarded damages, entering a $37.5m default judgement and handing down a permanent injunction against future infringements. The defendants acknowledged the suit but did not contest the case against them.

Jens Bammel, outgoing secretary of the International Publishers Association (IPA), said: "Online piracy is a massive, global problem, posing a significant threat to authors, artists, musicians, producers and publishers. Sites like these deprive creative artists of their livelihoods, destroying jobs and culture. The IPA and its members supported this lawsuit to highlight the scale of international online piracy and the dangers it represents.”

Paul Doda, chairman of the IPA’s copyright committee added  the ruling was “good news for content creators". He said: "This sophisticated and massive illegal enterprise has harmed many thousands of creators and copyright holders around the world. The judge’s ruling sends a strong message and will go a long way in discouraging this kind of illegal activity.”

Elsevier, named in the title of the case, declined to comment further, saying "piracy is an issue for all publishers".