Digital piracy threatens the publishing industry’s development of high-value content and innovative means of delivering that content to consumers. AAP strongly supports new legislation to disable websites dedicated to offering counterfeit or copyright-infringing goods, services or materials in violation of U.S. law.
Numerous online sites, often based outside of the U.S. and frequently posing as legitimate, offer huge numbers of infringing electronic files of books and journals for download. These so-called rogue sites derive revenue from subscriptions to their entire collection of pirated works, sales of files on an individual or bulk basis and sales of advertising space on their sites.
Payment for pirated materials is made with major credit cards or through payment services such as PayPal. Advertisers, including many well-known companies, may not even be aware they are supporting piracy.
The online enforcement policies of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, signed into law in 1998, have proven inadequate in the current digital landscape. Combining ISP “safe harbors” with qualifying “notice-and-takedown” requirements, it was designed to encourage technological innovation and online availability of copyrighted works by protecting websites and other ISPs from liability for occasional, isolated acts of infringement on their systems by third parties.
But it has not proven to work for rightsholders confronting sites that knowingly make infringing content available while hiding behind compliance with numerous “takedown” notices. The result: a frustrating cycle of multiple removals and repostings of the same content.
Proposed legislation to allow disabling rogue sites would establish a process for securing U.S. District Court orders requiring providers of domain name, payment processing or advertising delivery services to cease providing services to the sites. Such orders would prevent these sites from profiting from copyright infringing activities and from appearing legitimate to Internet users.
While book publishers actively police the Internet for infringing content, the volume of material being made available illegally is enormous. Content owners need the help of the government along with involvement by the ISP community to find effective solutions to this problem. The industry welcomes efforts, in Congress and through the Executive Branch, to find effective solutions.
We applaud the recent efforts of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in disabling access to sites dedicated to facilitating infringing activity or to providing counterfeit products. We continue to work with other government agencies engaged in this process, including the Department of Commerce, in a review of copyright policy and the Internet, and the ongoing efforts of the Office of the IP Enforcement Coordinator.
For more information regarding AAP's general copyright advocacy and enforcement efforts, contact Allan Adler.
For information about the activities of AAP's Online Piracy Working Group, contact Ed McCoyd.
For information about the activities of AAP's International Copyright Protection Committee, please contact Lui Simpson.