EBooks are widely available and relatively cheap in many cases but there is still a thriving market for pirated copies.
This can be down to straightforward convenience but when it comes to textbooks, titles aren’t always available digitally and in many cases are extremely expensive.
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To fill this demand, various sites offer textbooks for free download but in some instances, members of the public provide more personal services to access them at reduced rates. The downside is that anti-piracy companies are sometimes lying in wait.
A student from Denmark was one of the unlucky ones. After he and some fellow students pirated a few books to save money, the 26-year-old went on to launch a company with a friend after leaving college. However, when that venture failed and he ended up on benefits, he found himself selling eBooks on Den Blå Avis (The Blue Newspaper), Denmark’s largest buying and selling site.
Unfortunately for him, Danish anti-piracy outfit Rettighedsalliancen (Rights Alliance) noticed his activities. Under the alias “Michael R”, he sold one of their investigators an eBook that he’d previously converted to a PDF. After paying using MobilePay, the anti-piracy group collected it from Google Drive and reported the case to the police.
A couple of days ago, Avisen obtained information indicating that following an investigation, the Court of Frederiksberg would hear the case this week. The former student, who is trained in IT and marketing, had been charged with selling 228 copies of pirated textbooks related to his specialties.
He reportedly sold the books on The Blue Newspaper for between $12.50 and $88.00 each, a crime for which the prosecution sought a jail sentence for copyright infringement.
On Wednesday, Judge Poul Bisgaard-Frantzen at the Court of Fredericksberg handed the man, who currently lives in Copenhagen, a 20-day suspended jail sentence for copyright and financial offenses, Politiken reports.
After admitting selling 155 copies of textbooks, the Court also ordered the confiscation of 27,640 kroner, around $4,075.
“[I]t is devastating for the copyright that the authors have, and also for the publishers, when the basis for their business is taken away. Therefore, the gain must be confiscated,” the Judge said.
During the hearing, the former student, who will now have to abstain from illegal activities if he is to avoid prison, entered into a settlement arrangement with Rights Alliance, agreeing to pay the anti-piracy group 34,870 kroner ($5,123) in compensation.
Wednesday’s verdict could be just the start as the police reportedly have several similar cases pending.