Publishers launch fight against second-hand e-books

Reading an e-book on a Kindle (Photo: Mia5793/Wikimedia Commons)Reading an e-book on a Kindle (Photo: Mia5793/Wikimedia Commons)

Dutch publishers started the fight against the sale of secondhand e-books. People placing an ad to sell a secondhand e-book on Marktplaats now automatically receive an email from copyright watchdog Stichting Brein threatening a fine of thousands of euros, according to broadcaster NOS.

"We have detected that you distribute digital books without any special permission from the copyright holders. By illegally distributing digital books you infringe on the copyright and related rights of the authors, performers and producers", the email reads. "This practice is unlawful towards the rights holders and as infringer, you are liable for the damages they suffer as a result. Willful infringement is also punishable as a felony with 6 months imprisonment or a 19,500 euro fine."

The publishers asked Brein to act on their behalf. According to the broadcaster, they fear that if the trade in used digital books gets going, far fewer new books will be sold.