Google Taken to Court to Uncloak eBook Pirates

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Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN has taken Google to court in an effort to obtain the personal details of one of its users. The account in question had been selling 'pirate' eBooks on Google Play but despite responding to BREIN's complaint by shutting down further sales, Google is refusing to hand over its user's identity.

e-booksThe General Publishers Group (GAU) is a trade organization that represents the interests of dozens of book publishers in the Netherlands.

Earlier this year GAU discovered that eBooks belong to some of its clients were being made available illegally on Google Play. According to the trade group the titles, which were being touted under the fictitious publisher name of Flamanca Hollanda / Dragonletebooks, were being sold at a price level considerably lower than the official versions.

GAU subsequently referred the matter to Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN for investigation. In turn, BREIN reported the illegal seller to Google who immediately removed the rogue account thereby preventing further unauthorized sales.

Early June, GAU reported that Google appeared to be taking steps to prevent rogue sellers from offering illegal content via its Play store. The group also noted that BREIN was attempting to obtain the personal details of the ‘pirate’ seller from Google.

Unsurprisingly that wasn’t a straightforward exercise, with Google refusing to hand over the personal details of its user on a voluntary basis. If BREIN really wanted the seller’s identity it would have to obtain it via a court order. Yesterday the anti-piracy group began the process to do just that.

Appearing before the Court of The Hague, BREIN presented its case, arguing that the rogue seller was not merely a user of Google, but actually a commercial partner of Google Play, a partnership that earned revenue for both parties.

brein-new“The case is clear,” BREIN said in a statement.

“There was infringement carried out by an anonymous seller that was actually a commercial ‘partner’ of Google via Google Play. This is how Google refers to sellers in its own terms of use.”

BREIN says that ultimately Google is responsible for the unauthorized distribution and sales carried out via its service.

“There is no right to anonymously sell illegal stuff, not even on Google Play while Google earns money,” the anti-piracy group concludes.

GAU’s partnership with BREIN dates back to April 2010. With its members complaining about the growing availability of ‘cracked’ and ‘scanned’ titles, GAU said that strong anti-piracy measures were required to protect creativity.

“With BREIN, GAU has found a partner that has a lot of know how in the fight against piracy,” the group said.

BREIN did not immediately respond to TF’s request for comment.


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