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Educational publishers win multimillion-dollar counterfeit textbook lawsuit

In the US, Book Dog Books—an importer and reseller of counterfeit textbooks—has been found guilty of multiple counts of copyright and trademark infringement, and in breach of a previous cease and desist order, reports Publishers Weekly.

The lawsuit was filed by the Educational Publishers Enforcement Group (EPEG)—which consists of Cengage, Pearson Education, John Wiley and McGraw-Hill Education—against Book Dog Books and Robert William Management and their owner, Philip Smyres.

In its decision, the jury awarded EPEG a total of USD$34.2 million (A$43.7 million) in damages, with USD$20 million (A$25.7 million) for trademark infringement and USD$14.2 million (A$18 million) for copyright infringement.

Book Dog Books owner Smyres sold textbooks online through the websites and; textbooks are also for sale on several online marketplaces, including Amazon.

Attorney Matt Oppenheim, who represented the publishers, said, ‘The jury in this case recognised the inherent value of textbooks and educational publishers, and that book distributors must exercise vigilance to avoid buying and selling counterfeit textbooks.’ ‘If you’re a bookseller, whether you’re selling online or on the ground, you have an obligation to make sure that you are selling legitimate product,’ he added.

Evan Mandel, a lawyer for Smyres, told Inside Higher Ed that the verdict was ‘unsupported by the facts or the law, and Book Dog Books will appeal’.


Category: International news