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Hardie Grant to refer unauthorised distribution of Turnbull memoir to AFP

Hardie Grant Publishing will refer the alleged distribution of a pirated edition of Malcolm Turnbull’s memoir A Bigger Picture to the Australian Federal Police.

‘The nature and breadth of this will genuinely hurt our company and our bookselling community,’ said Hardie Grant chief executive Sandy Grant of the unauthorised distribution. ‘Our intention at this stage is to refer the matter to the Federal Police.’

Grant said in a statement, ‘What drew this to our attention was the distribution of the pirated edition from an address from within the PMO [Prime Minister’s Office], sent to people who reported the illegal edition.’

The Guardian reports that, on Saturday, lawyers HWL Ebsworth, representing Hardie Grant and Turnbull, sent a cease and desist notice to an aide in Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s office alleging unauthorised distribution of the book ‘on a massive scale’. According to Turnbull, the aide has since contacted Turnbull’s lawyers and acknowledged the circulation of the digital version of the book to 59 acquaintances.

Grant, referring to Minister Marise Payne’s confirmation on Sunday that she had ‘received and deleted’ the pirated book but that it had not come from the PMO, said he was frustrated by the lack of government action: ‘When I watch a senior government minister saying they received stolen goods but can’t help us know where they came from, you despair.’

‘The bookshops in their electorates are closed or struggling, our staff are working reduced hours or being stood down and they seem to see that theft as something they can ignore. Would they ignore someone stealing from the local servo?’

Australian Booksellers Association president Robbie Egan said, ‘The illegal distribution of books like Malcolm Turnbull’s A Bigger Picture damages all authors as bestselling books support publishers and booksellers to produce and sell the work of a wide array of lesser known writers. Just as we would not tolerate someone from the PMO walking into one of our members bookstores, taking books without paying and handing them out in the street, we condemn the piracy of ebooks.’

Grant said, ‘Knowingly distributing copyright material is a crime with hefty fines and even gaol for individuals and we—I mean Hardie Grant—think the nature and breadth of this will genuinely hurt our company and our bookselling community at a time when we are all  desperate for bestsellers to keep our businesses open. To that end we would like this pursued.’

Turnbull’s memoir is published today.


Category: Local news