January 6, 2010
E-Piracy and the Publishing Industry
Recently, I've been fascinated by the illegal downloading of e-books. Although the e-book industry has been booming in recent months, e-book piracy has been booming as well. For example, Matt Frisch of CNN reports that within days of the release of the e-book version of Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol, over 100,000 copies of the book had been downloaded illegally.
The woes of publishing industry obviously present opportunities for the legal community. Lawyers have become very good at protecting the intellectual property of musicians and filmmakers when it reaches the internet, because the music and film industries have been the traditional targets of e-piracy. For corporate counsel and outside counsel, the test now becomes how best to translate the lessons learned in these industries to the publishing business. Perhaps, this will require an evolution in e-book technology to better protect e-books from being duplicated, or this may require the publishing industry to transform its business model in some way to offset piracy concerns.