ECPA Proceeds to Judgment In Digital Rights Lawsuit--ECPA Seeks Order to Remove Infringing Titles
Phoenix, AZ—The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA), on behalf of a coalition of its member publishers, filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in London in October 2007 against a UK-based website, Biblecentre.net. The suit asks that the court prohibit the site from continuing to post nearly 130 Christian works without permission. ECPA has asked the court this week to award a victory to ECPA by default.
The Biblecentre.net site, operated by Andrew Amue, has provided Christian books for download for almost seven years without acquiring the necessary licenses from the publishers. Amue first offered product downloads for free, then started charging a membership fee. ECPA and the publishers repeatedly demanded for Amue to respect the copyright of the works; however, Amue refused to secure the necessary license or to remove the content from his website.
Working with a UK-based lawyer, the ECPA team was able to shut down Biblecentre.net through its Internet Service Provider (ISP) in 2004. However, Amue found a new ISP and re-launched the website a short time later. “We realized quickly that this website would continue to pop up somewhere else,” says ECPA President Mark Kuyper. “It was like a digital ‘whack-a-mole’ arcade game.”
In 2006, ECPA and the publishing coalition, comprised of Thomas Nelson, Zondervan, Baker Publishing Group, Tyndale, Moody, Logos Software, and IVP UK, began preparing legal action to prove Amue’s copyright infringement. The coalition is represented by Brian Flagler of the Flagler Law Group in the US and Martyn Bailey of Forbes Anderson Free in the UK. In light of Amue’s failure to respond to the allegations, ECPA has asked the court to award a victory by default.
“This lawsuit represents a clear and strong statement to would-be online infringers that blatant copyright infringement will not be tolerated by the ECPA community,” says Flagler. “The publishers in this case took great efforts to amicably resolve this infringement with Mr. Amue, but his continued actions made obvious that he intended to profit from his infringement with utter disregard for copyright. As the stewards of these works, many important theological research materials, the publishers chose to take action.”
“This case sets an important precedent in digital rights protection,” says Greg Thornton, Vice President of Publications, Moody Publishers. “And it will continue to be a significant issue as we move toward more and more digital content.”
CONTACT:Mark Kuyper, President & CEO, ECPA480-966-3998, firstname.lastname@example.org