In the last six months an intensive investigation by some of the leading publishing companies, Cengage Learning, John Wiley, Pearson, and McGraw-Hill, revealed a large wave of counterfeit textbooks being distributed in the United States. The investigation further revealed that among the sources used by the textbook distributors to acquire their books were overseas suppliers identified as being a source of counterfeit textbooks. Today these big publishing companies announced that they have settled the trademark and copyright infringement cases. The five distributors agreeing to settle the publishers’ claims are: Kentwood Industries in California, Texas Book Company in Texas, Sterling Educational Media in Florida, Davis Textbook in California, and ABSnext Corporation (formerly known as Budgetext Corporation) in Arkansas.
“We hope that these settlements send a strong message that textbook publishers will not allow those who profit from the sale of counterfeit works to pocket that money,” said Matt Oppenheim, of Oppenheim + Zebrak, LLP who represented Cengage Learning, Wiley, Pearson, and McGraw-Hill. “These companies are continuing to enforce their rights and do not intend to allow others to sell infringing copies of their textbooks without facing the consequences of doing so.”
While the education companies have settled claims against these five distributors, they are currently pursuing action against other groups of individuals and companies that engaged in similar conduct.
The entire educational textbook market is facing increased competition from digital offerings through Amazon, Coursesmart, Kno, and Cheugg. eTextbooks are still in their infancy and the tangible versions continue to be the most popular in the classroom. The major publishers involved in these cases are trying to consolidate their textbook divisions and wipe out the smaller companies that make their money with counterfeit products.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.