Educational Publishers Sue Google Over Alleged E-book Piracy

Google is being sued by four major educational publishers: Cengage, Macmillan Learning, McGraw Hill, and Elsevier. The companies claim that Google is helping to sell copies of stolen textbooks through its search engine. The case, which was submitted to the Southern District of New York U.S. District Court, claims that Google has allowed pirated e-books to be widely marketed and sold at steep discounts by failing to respond to thousands of copyright infringement notifications. The publishers’ attorney, Matt Oppenheim, has characterized Google as a “thieves’ den” for textbook pirates, with pirated versions overshadowing legitimate sales due to their artificially low pricing.

The complaint further criticizes Google for exacerbating piracy by limiting advertisements for licensed e-books, thus distorting the textbook market in favor of illegal sellers. Since 2021, the publishers have repeatedly reported these issues to Google without success. They are currently suing for undisclosed financial penalties for trademark and copyright infringement, as well as dishonest business activities. The case titled, Cengage Learning v. Google LLC, highlights an escalating conflict between content creators and the digital advertising behemoth over copyright protection and fair market practices.

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