Project Gutenberg has disabled ebook downloads from people in Germany. This is due to an ongoing court case that said 18 German titles were in violation of copyright, even though the copyright expired in the United States. In a statement Gutenberg said ” The German Courts overstepped its jurisdiction, and allowed the world’s largest publishing group to bully Project Gutenberg for these 18 books, there is every reason to think that this will keep happening. There are thousands of eBooks in the Project Gutenberg collection that could be subject to similar overreaching and illegitimate actions.”
The lawsuit against Gutenberg is from S. Fischer Verlag, GmbH. S. Fischer Verlag, GmbH is part of Holtzbrinck Publishing Group and Macmillan Publishers Ltd is wholly owned by Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. By blocking all German users from the site, they will get a lot of media attention, and S. Fischer Verlag will get a lot of bad press. Whether or not they will move from their position is questionable, but it will hurt them.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.