French publishers applaud court order to block book piracy site

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Book piracy in France has taken a hit, with legal action by the SNE and 12 publishing houses against “Z-Library”.

In Paris, July 10, 2020. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Michael Watz

By Porter Anderson, Editor | @Porter_Anderson

See also:
Italian publishers: book piracy cost 771 million euros in 2021

“80 million pirated items”

Today (September 19), an announcement from the association of French publishers, the national publishing union (SNE)—signs a victory for French publishers in business against the piracy-facilitating sites that drain revenue from the book publishing industries in many global markets.

A judgment was rendered in Paris on August 25, according to SNE and this court decision ordered Internet service providers to block the site (and associated domain names) of a hacking group called “Z-Library”. . The result, according to the syndicate, is that 209 domain names and their extensions on mirror sites are rendered inaccessible.

“Presenting ‘as a free library’ since 2009”, specifies the association of publishers, “but offering a paying model for access to counterfeit works, the Z-Library site, accessible via multiple addresses, offered access to more than 8 million books”. in all editorial sectors “and 80 million pirated articles”.

By taking legal action against the Z-Library site on June 29, the association worked with 12 publishing houses:

  • South Acts
  • Michael Albin
  • Cairn, Editis
  • Hatchet Book
  • Humensis,
  • Lefebvre Sarrut
  • LexisNexis
  • madrigall
  • House of Languages
  • Odile Jacob
  • Science Po Press

Our regular readers will remember that at the end of March, the Association of Italian Publishers (Association Italiana EditoriAIE) and the Italian Federation of Newspaper Publishers (Federazione Italiana Editori GiornaliFIEG) reported that book piracy cost the Italian publishing industry 771 million euros ($772 million) as well as around 5,400 jobs.

Among the most alarming elements of this report, presented by Ricardo Franco Levi – president of the AIE, vice-president of the Federation of European Publishers and special curator of Rome for the program of guest of honor Italy of Frankfurt 2024 – featured this sentence: “Daily in 2021, Italians committed an average of 322,000 acts of commercial, academic and professional book piracy, up 5% from 2019”.

“This collective success”

This latest success for publishers, recalls the union, follows a criminal conviction for counterfeiting in May 2021 of the leaders of another structure, TeamAlexandriz, judged by the courts as pirating content.

Buoyed by this success, the union’s management is now considering the new prerogatives entrusted to ARCOM—Audiovisual and digital communication regulatory authority, an audio and digital communications regulatory agency – seeking to extend the blocking of any link that redirects users to a replica of a site blocked by law.

“This collective success,” writes the Syndicat des Editeurs Français in its media messaging today, puts an end to at least these cases of persistent and costly interference with the conduct of business and the protection of copyright, “and paves the way for new actions by publishers and the national publishing union—block and de-link, quickly and systematically, websites operating to circumvent copyright protections.

“French publishing is investing heavily to enable broad public access to digital books,” the publishers say in today’s announcement. “Book piracy undermines the remuneration of creators, authors and publishers alike. It threatens the entire book ecosystem, particularly booksellers, and harms cultural diversity.

“The SNE and the publishers, they write, are delighted that this book piracy enterprise has been sanctioned.

“The fight against book piracy is more than ever a priority for publishers and the SNE [renews its] mission to defend the interests of the entire profession.


To learn more about Publishing Perspectives on the French market, to learn more about selling books, to learn more about digital publishing, to learn more about copyright issues, and to learn more on book piracy, click here.

To learn more about the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and its impact on international book publishing, click here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident member of Trends Research & Advisory, and was named International Business Journalist of the Year at the London Book Fair‘s International Excellence Awards. He is editor of Publishing Perspectives. He was previously associate editor of The FutureBook at The Bookseller in London. Anderson was a senior producer and anchor for CNN.com, CNN International and CNN USA for more than a decade. As an art critic (National Critics Institute), he has collaborated with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which is now owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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