Skip to main content
Copyright Blog

Publishers Sue to Stop Counterfeiting

McGraw Hill brings an infringement suit against several online merchants.

In mid-January, textbook publishers McGraw Hill; Bedford, Freeman & Worth Publishing Group; Elsevier; Pearson Education; and Cengage Learning (jointly "McGraw Hill") brought suit against various online merchants doing business primarily on eBay and Amazon (the "Merchants"). In its complaint, McGraw Hill alleges the Merchants have been distributing counterfeit textbooks, infringing McGraw Hill’s copyrights and trademarks.

McGraw Hill claims that because of the nature of eBay and Amazon, unsuspecting textbook purchasers are unaware that they may be purchasing a counterfeit textbook, and may not even know they have purchased a counterfeit after they receive the textbook. The counterfeit textbooks are allegedly often of inferior quality, leading to dissatisfied customers and poor online reviews, all of which damage McGraw Hill’s reputation.

In the pleadings, McGraw Hill shares a few examples of online reviews which warn other potential purchasers of the counterfeit nature of the textbooks. A few of the online reviews state that some of the counterfeits are mere photocopies of the authentic versions. McGraw Hill also details how difficult it is to search for and identify textbook counterfeiters because of the relatively anonymous nature of online dealing, and the ease of which counterfeiters can evade detection by changing their names and accounts.

In filing its complaint, McGraw Hill is seeking a number of determinations, including that the Merchants' infringement was willful. McGraw Hill also seeks damages, including exemplary damages where authorized by statute, and an injunction against the Merchants.