Four US publishers sue free-of-book site LibGen

Four US publishers sue free-of-book site LibGen

Four leading US publishers have filed a patent for an online'shadow library' that allows users to download textbooks and other copyrighted materials free of charge.

Cengage, Macmillan Learning, McGraw Hill and Pearson Education filed a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court alleging that library Genesis, also known as LibGen, violated copyright law.

LibGen has a range of domains that let users search for and download PDF versions of books. The suit, filed Thursday, says LibGen holds more than 20,000 files published by the four suing companies.

''S massive infringement completely undermines the incentive for creation and the rights of authors, who earn no royalties for the millions of books LibGen illegally distributes,'' Matt Oppenheim, the lawyer representing the publishing companies, told the Guardian.

The publisher urged for a unspecified amount of damages and asked for a deleted or transferred domain name of LibGen to be deleted or transferred to the four companies. The suit alleges that LibGen's activities cause'serious financial and creative harm' because they devalue the textbook market and deprive publishers of income from textbook purchases, which could lead companies to stop publishing 'deserving' titles that have low sales.

The complaint alleges that students are 'bombarded' with messages'through social media and from their peers' to use LibGen sites instead of paying for textbooks during back-to-school season.

The complaint states that LibGen is owned and operated by unidentified individuals, who are believed to reside outside the US. The site's owners hide their identity using pseudonyms such as 'bookwarrior' and 'librarian'. There is no contact information available on the LibGen sites.

The suit also referred to a previous case brought by Elsevier against LibGen in Manhattan in 2017 in which the publisher was awarded $15 million in damages and LibGen was ordered to transfer its domains to Elsevier.