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Publishing Alliance to Combat Online Book Piracy

Thirty-six kids-oriented publishing houses recently formed an alliance to jointly combat the rampant piracy of children's books, a main driving force of the Chinese book market.

Zhang Qiulin, president of the 21st Century Publishing Group, one of the alliance members,said that it is difficult for a publishing company to handle piracy alone, because the volume of online piracy is vast and can be difficult to identify.

From January to late August, the publishing group found 26 shops selling pirated versions of books published by the group on Tmall.com, e-commerce giant Alibaba's business-to-consumer platform, and 14 of them had been shut down.

Wu Shuangying, deputy chief of Hunan Children's Publishing House Co, said pirated versions of Chinese-language Britannica Kids' Library "were available online on the very next day after the company published the books".

"We are still unaware how the books had been pirated in so short a time," Wu said.

Online sales of pirated and fake Smiling Cat's Diaries, published by Tomorrow Publishing House, were estimated by relevant dealers to surpass 100 million yuan annually ($14.97million). Li Wenbo, editor-in-chief at the publishing house, said dealers of pirated books have different ways to counterfeit things, like counterfeiting authorization certificates from publishing houses.

The books have 21 volumes, but fake books that pretended to have been written by the author have already offered 50 volumes,Li said.

The past decade was considered as a golden decade for child-oriented publishing in China. The country now has 538 publishers,with 310 of them involved in such Publishing.

The alliance said it would protect the rights of its members and related authors via measures including online supervision, clue discovery and legal services.

It signed a cooperation memorandum against piracy with Taobao.com, a shopping website of Alibaba, on the day the alliance was established. All the publishing houses in the alliance would join Alibaba's intellectual property protection system to exchange information and together combat piracy.

Han Qiang, an official at the China Children's Press and Publication Group, said Taobao.com would assist publishers with technology against online piracy. The Shopping website plans to provide training against online piracy to rights protection departments at the 36 publishing houses.

Duan Yuping, deputy head at the copyright management department of the National Copyright Administration, suggested the alliance should proactively tell government organizations its members' needs and improve its capabilities to fight against piracy.

Updated: Sep 14, 2016  China Daily