In a press release sent out by the International Publishers Association today it has been reported that a United States federal court has found the operators of a massive global piracy ring liable for intentionally infringing copyrights. Maximum damages allowed under US law have also been awarded. In Elsevier Inc. v. Victor Kozlov and Pavel Kazutsin, a joint action brought by the global publishing industry, it was revealed that defendants’ sites – Avaxhome, Avaxsearch and other sites – were illegally providing instant access to complete digital copies of millions of popular books, movies, music, games, television programs, software, magazines, newspapers and other copyrighted content. Titles from 16,000 book publishers from many countries were available through the sites, which make money through advertising and registration fees.
IPA Secretary General Jens Bammel said “online piracy is a massive, global problem, posing a significant threat to authors, artists, musicians, producers and publishers. Sites like these deprive creative artists of their livelihoods, destroying jobs and culture. The IPA and its members supported this lawsuit to highlight the scale of international online piracy and the dangers it represents.”
The judge, sitting in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, entered a $37.5 million default judgment for willful infringement and handed down a permanent injunction against future infringements after defendants acknowledged the suit but did not contest the overwhelming case against them for intentional infringement. The judge cited the goal of deterring and discouraging the defendants and other operators of similar sites that openly engage in and promote copyright infringement.
Paul Doda, Chairman of the IPA’s Copyright Committee said the ruling was “good news for content creators. This sophisticated and massive illegal enterprise has harmed many thousands of creators and copyright holders around the world. The judge’s ruling sends a strong message and will go a long way in discouraging this kind of illegal activity.”
The IPA’s Anti-Piracy Working Group, which coordinates the international publishing industry’s response to online piracy, will work to enforce the judgment against the defendants by various means.
The ruling has arrived at a timely juncture just a day after the #Copyrightforfreedom campaign was launched by the Federation of European Publishers in a bit to protect creativity and the rights of creators.