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Copyright Blog

Ongoing Textbook Counterfeiting Case Sheds Defendants as Publishers Settle

The publishers that brought the suit have voluntarily dismissed claims against a long trail of individual defendants as they have reached settlement agreements over time.

On January 27, 2020, we reported on a case wherein McGraw Hill and other prominent academic publishers (the "Publishers") brought suit against a long list of both anonymous and identified online entities (the "Sellers") that were allegedly selling counterfeit versions of the Publishers' textbooks (the "Counterfeits"). According to the Publishers' Complaint, these Counterfeits, which infringe on the Publishers' copyrights, have competed with and undercut sales of legitimate copies of the books. In addition, the inferior quality of the Counterfeits has apparently negatively affected the brands of the Publishers by inducing buyers to leave critical online reviews. According to the Publishers, the Counterfeits have diluted the Publishers' trademarks and damaged their reputations. In their suit, the Publishers are seeking injunctive relief and damages.

On February 12th, 2020, the Publishers secured a Preliminary Injunction from the court against most of the Sellers, prohibiting the Sellers from selling the Publishers' books and allowing the Publishers to inspect all copies of the books in the Sellers' possession. Stipulated preliminary injunctions were also obtained against a couple of the Sellers.

In the intervening months since the injunction, the Publishers have provided the court with Notices of Dismissal that have ended the suit with respect to many of the individual defendant Sellers. It seems that the Publishers have been able to reach settlements with these particular Sellers. Examples of the notices can be found here, here, and here. Not all of the Sellers have reached settlements, and the suit will presumably move forward against these remaining defendants.