There is a global crackdown on organized crime manufacturing illegal student textbooks. A few weeks ago police raided a few locations in Madrid and Seville, seizing 10 professional book scanning machines and arresting three. Authorities in Uganda have raided 29 bookstores participating in a scheme that saw unsuspending students buying textbooks worth $686,000 US.
Towards the end of June Ugandan authorities carried out a massive string operation in Kampala, Masaka and Mbarara districts. Executive director of the Uganda Reproduction Rights Organisation (URRO), Charles Batambuze, said the pirates have been replicating books that are already in publication and selling them to unsuspecting customers. “Most of these thugs are connive with private schools, who then buy the books from them, some not knowing that they are buying fakes.”
The books were seized from close to 29 bookshops and street vendors. According to Copyright Inspector Philly Jjemba, the traders initially claimed they did not know that their books were pirated, before revealing their suppliers. “These people just don’t deal in any book; they sell school texts which are on high demand as well as church prayer books, to unsuspecting buyers,” Jjemba said.
URRO Chairman Martin Okia explained “Occasionally we get calls from the schools complaining about missing pages or unclear texts, indeed sometimes you find that in these books the pages are upside down. We are telling them those books are actually pirated and we cannot vouch for the authenticity of the contents of the book,” Okia added.