Hachette UK is is one of the largest book publishers in the UK, and consists of several publishing companies, including Headline Publishing Group, Hodder & Stoughton, Orion Publishing Group, Octopus Publishing Group and Hodder Education Group. In 2006, it acquired Time Warner Book Group, which then morphed into Little, Brown Book Group.
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We first reported back in February that the publisher was moving to have its eBooks taken off Mobiles24, and issued a ‘letter before action’ to the site’s owner, Mark Worthington, after it made a number of its eBooks available to download for free without permission. Worthington had been given until Wednesday 29th February to comply with the request to remove all unauthorized Hachette content, which has now happened. As The Bookseller reports today, Hachette UK CEO Tim Hely Hutchinson said:
“I am delighted with the outcome of our justified action. This sends out a very clear message to anyone who appropriates our files, infringing our copyright and that of our authors. We have always made it clear that we regard copyright infringement as theft: we will pursue any case where we find it and our actions will be upheld by the court.”
This is the latest case in a stream of incidents involving eBooks piracy. We reported a number of weeks back that two websites which had made thousands of eBooks available illegally as free downloads had been forced offline after being served cease-and-desist orders from a global alliance of publishers.
The pirate operation was thought to be turning over more than £7m each year, netted through advertising, premium-level accounts and user-donations. Library.nu had acquired more than 400,000 copyrighted eBooks, and made them available for free on a site masquerading as a legitimate provider. The same operators also ran the affiliated fileshare hosting service at ifile.it, which facilitated the uploads.
It’s not just little download sites that are being taken to task over their illegal publishing exploits. Last May, we reported that a trio of French publishers was suing Google for almost €10m, after claiming that the Internet giant had scanned thousands of its books without consent as part of its on-going Google Books project.
With music and movie piracy dominating most of the pirate content headlines, with the likes of The Pirate Bay facing a number of legal wranglings, it seems that the flourishing eBook industry is bringing in a new wave of problems for the digital content industries. There will likely be many more similar cases come to the fore in the coming years, as the Kindles and Nooks of the world continue to win ground over their paper-based counterparts.