German book publishers have taken another step in fighting e-book piracy by suing two newspapers that interviewed the operator of a piracy website.

Der Tagesspiegel and Die Zeit have been hit with a criminal complaint after the papers ran an interview with a representative of TorBoox, according to a post on Melville House. I followed the links back to the original story on the German site Buchreport.

After using Google translate, the report states: “According to information from buchreport criminal complaint against the newspaper publishers was made. The accusation: Aid for copyright infringement.”

It seems German publishers are trying to squash piracy any way they can, even if a lawsuit like this one seems a little ridiculous. Although, according to reports, TorBoox does claim to be the largest e-book piracy site in Germany.

I’m not up on German laws, so I cannot comment on whether or not the lawsuit has any merit, but it seems absurd that you can stop a newspaper from printing the name of a website that has been featured. Buchreport did also note the newspapers stated the site did break copyright laws, but that apparently wasn’t enough for the publishers.

More from Buchreport:

“With the direct and multiple naming the Internet address of the reader is immediately aware of the illicit supply of the website,” it says in the complaint. “With regard to an objective journalistic reporting was no need for direct nomination.”

And further: “The publication of the Website and its Internet address wrongful offer a broad mass of readers was made immediately known. The reader is also encouraged to indirectly, to take advantage of the offer, taking advantage of the illegal site has been highlighted by the play of the interview. “

These are the same people that wanted to use a different type of DRM that would change small bits of text in e-books when people would buy them to leave a fingerprint of sorts. This way, publishers would be able to track where the e-books are coming from.

German publishers are serious about e-book piracy: DRMs that change content, suing newspapers for reporting information.

What’s next for German publishers? How far are they willing to go to shut down e-book piracy in their country?

Of note, as Melville House pointed out, e-books account for 2.4 percent of the market in Germany. That seems like a lot of trouble for such a small stake of the share.


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