The Association of American Publishers considers the protection of intellectual property in all media among its highest priorities. Working closely with member company representatives, U.S. government officials and local authorities overseas, AAP combats theft of intellectual property in a number of countries and territories. In addition to traditional enforcement, AAP members believe that raising public awareness about the importance of respecting intellectual property rights is a key component of its efforts to address piracy. AAP also works closely with government officials, highlighting the need for adopting and implementing current international standards of copyright law and the importance of strict enforcement of such laws. To accomplish these goals, AAP employs a multi-pronged approach in each of the territories in which it is active: the People’s Republic of China and the Hong Kong S.A.R., the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.
Problems Faced by the Publishing Industry
Piracy of copyrighted materials is a worldwide problem costing American publishing industry millions of dollars annually in sales. American publishers face the following types of piracy overseas:
Illegal Commercial Photocopying
- Commercial copy centers (photocopy shops), wholly illicit operations set up in residential areas and print-to-order operations run underground warehouses, copy entire textbooks on a routine basis. These activities take place in and around all major university campuses in most of the territories that AAP monitors.
- Commercial copying, regardless of venue, is often undertaken on a “print to order” basis, to avoid stockpiling. Orders from students are printed immediately and distributed around campuses using vans or similar delivery vehicles.
- Technology has made it possible to produce photocopies with scanned digital covers that look virtually identical to the legitimate goods.
- Pirates are also using cameras and similar devices to monitor law enforcement movement outside their facilities.
- In some cases, wholly unauthorized operations obtain master copies of books and run unauthorized editions off a printing press.
- In other cases, licensed local distributors or publishers undertake print overruns, producing more copies of a title than is permitted by the license granted to them.
Online/ Electronic Piracy
- Online piracy adversely impacts the publishing industry, harming and impeding the industry’s ability to continue to develop high-value content and to invest in innovative ways in which to deliver new content to consumers.
- Unauthorized distribution of online journal articles remains a significant problem in certain countries.
- Unauthorized digitization of collections by libraries and unchecked sharing of such digitized versions of works (trade books, academic, medical and professional textbooks, and journals) is of particular concern.
AAP engages foreign governments in efforts to foster more widespread and sustained enforcement efforts against commercial photocopying centers, unauthorized printing, and digital piracy. Efforts also include eliciting cooperation from university officials to undertake enforcement efforts and to adopt appropriate use policies and raise copyright awareness on university and college campuses.