Noted authors and publishers win $7.8M judgment against Ukranian book pirates

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A US District Court awarded $7.8 Million in statutory damages in a book piracy case. It was the maximum allowed under copyright law for illegal distribution (copyright infringement) of 52 written works, at $150,000 per title.

Plaintiffs included authors Lee Child, Sylvia Day, John Grisham, C.J. Lyons, Doug Preston, Jim Rasenberger, T.J. Stiles, R.L. Stine, Monique Truong, Scott Turow, Nicholas Weinstock, and Stuart Woods, along with publishers Penguin Random House LLC and Amazon Content Services LLC.

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The case was initially brought against three individuals. Two were Ukrainian nationals operating an illegal service called Kiss Library, through a variety of Web sites. A third defendent was dismissed from the suit at the request of the plaintiffs.

The Ukranian nationals did not respond to notices and restraining orders, giving the court a justification to make its judgment for the maximum financial penalty

Read the Judgment (Case 2:20-cv-01048, February 8, 2022, US District Court, Western District of Washington, Seattle). The judgment also grants a permanent injunction against the defendants against any hosting, distribution or alteration of the works.

Read the Order granting plaintiffs’ motion for default judgment (December 17, 2021, US District Court, Western District of Washington, Seattle.  It also contains the legal analysis that led to the judgment

Why it matters

In the Judge’s opinion, “Given the extent of the piracy scheme, Defendants’ efforts to fight or participate in this lawsuit, and the seriousness of the misconduct, the Court finds that the requested damages are reasonable.”

While Piracy Monitor normally covers video piracy, this case and its judgment show how infringement in parallel situations with other forms of media content follow similar patterns of complaints, litigation, court procedures, judgments and in many cases (but not this one), sentencing.

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