French publishers hail court order to block pirate sites

Book piracy in France has been hit hard, with SNE and 12 publishing companies leading the charge against ‘Z-Library’.

July 10, 2020, Paris. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Michael Watz

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

See also:
Italian publishers: Book piracy costs €771m in 2021

“Eighty Million Pirated”

Today (September 19), an announcement from the French Publishers Association – National Publishing Syndicate (SNE) – marks a victory for French publishers in a case against piracy-friendly sites that drain the revenue of the book publishing industry in many world markets.

According to SNE, a judgment was handed down in Paris on Aug. 25, in which a court ordered Internet service providers to block the website (and related domains) of a piracy group called “Z-Library.” As a result, 209 domains and their extensions on the mirror site were inaccessible, according to the group.

“Since 2009, it has presented itself as a ‘free library,'” the Publishers Association said, “but offering a paid model to access counterfeit works, the Z-Library website — accessible through multiple addresses — – Provides access to over 8 million books “all editorial departments” and 80 million pirated articles.

At the time of the June 29 legal action against the Z-Library website, the association partnered with 12 publishing houses:

  • Southern Action
  • Albin Michel
  • Kane, Edith
  • Hachette Press
  • humus,
  • Lefebvre-Salute
  • LexisNexis
  • Madrigal
  • language house
  • Odile Jacob
  • Science Press

Our regular readers will remember that in late March, the Italian Publishers Association (Italian Association EditorAIE) and the Federation of Italian Newspaper Publishers (Federazione Italiana Editori GiornaliFIEG) reported that book piracy cost the Italian book publishing industry 771 million euros ($772 million) and an estimated 5,400 jobs.

One of the most worrying takeaways from the report, presented by Ricardo Franco Levi, President of the AIE, Vice-President of the Federation of European Publishers and Special Commissioner for the VIP Italy programme in Frankfurt in Rome 2024, is: “Every day in 2021, the average Italian will execute 322,000 piracy of trade, university and professional books, a 5% increase from 2019.”

‘This collective success’

The syndicate reminds us that this latest success for the publisher comes after the May 2021 criminal conviction of the manager of another company, TeamAlexandriz, for impersonating what the court determined to be pirated content.

Fascinated by this success, the Syndicate’s leadership is now considering new privileges for ARCOM —Autorité de régulation de la communication audiovisuelle et numérique, The regulator in audio and digital communications – by seeking to expand the blocking of any links that redirect users to copies of sites blocked by law.

“This collective success,” the French group of publishers wrote in its media message today, at least closes these long-standing and costly barriers to doing business and copyright protection, “and provides an opportunity for publishers and the National Publishing Syndicate– Quickly and systematically block and dereference sites to block and dereference sites that break copyright protection.

“The French publishing industry is investing heavily to make digital books widely accessible to the public,” the publisher said in today’s announcement. “Book piracy harms the compensation of authors and publishers’ creators. It has a negative impact on the entire book ecosystem, especially Booksellers pose a threat and damage cultural diversity.

“SNE and the publisher,” they wrote, “delighted that this book piracy business has been sanctioned.

“Fighting book piracy is a priority for publishers and SNE more than ever [renews its] The mission to defend the interests of the entire industry. “

More about Publishing Perspectives for the French market here, more about us on book sales here, more about digital publishing here, more about copyright issues here, more about book piracy here .

Learn more about the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing here.

About the author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident researcher at Trends Research & Advisory and was named International Trade Journalist of the Year at the London Book Fair’s International Excellence Awards. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He was formerly Associate Editor of The FutureBook, a London bookseller. Anderson has been a senior producer and anchor for over a decade at, CNN International and CNN USA. As an art critic (National Critics Association), he has worked for The Village Voice, Dallas Times Herald, and Tampa Tribune (now Tampa Bay Times). He co-founded The Hot Sheet, an author newsletter now owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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