Cengage, Elsevier, McGraw-Hill Education, and Pearson today announced an agreement with Barnes & Noble Education, Inc. to implement the industry’s Anti-Counterfeit Best Practices. The best practices were developed to assist publishers and distributors in combating counterfeits of print textbooks, a growing problem facing the industry.
Sales of counterfeit books are harmful to students, educators, publishers and distributors. The rise of illegal counterfeit materials in the market results in reduced incentives for publishers to invest in new content and technology to improve learning. In addition, distribution of counterfeit materials infringes on the publishers’ copyright and trademark rights and ultimately limits royalties due to authors and designers.
Barnes & Noble Education and MBS Textbook Exchange, one of the largest textbooks distributors that was recently acquired by Barnes & Noble Education, joins Ingram and Chegg as distributors working proactively with publishers to reduce the distribution of counterfeit materials.
“At Barnes & Noble Education, our mission is to serve the students and faculty at our campuses nationwide. We recognize the importance of protecting the intellectual rights of publishers and authors, and remain steadfast in our ongoing commitment to enforce these rights as we have in the past, now guided by the publishers’ Anti-Counterfeit Best Practices. We look forward to working with our publishing partners to ensure the higher education community has access to authentic, high-quality course materials,” said Patrick Maloney, President, Barnes & Noble College.
“As a standalone company and, now, as part of Barnes & Noble Education, MBS has always taken the fight against counterfeiting very seriously. We will continue to work with our publishing partners to get affordable, authentic textbooks into the hands of students,” said David Henderson, President, MBS.
“By closely collaborating with Barnes & Noble Education and other industry partners in our fight against counterfeit sales, we stand united in our commitment to reduce the negative impact of piracy in the market,” said Michael Hansen, CEO, Cengage. “We will continue to be aggressive in our efforts to protect our intellectual property rights and the rights of our authors so that we can continue to invest in innovation to improve teaching and learning.”
"We are pleased to engage with Barnes & Noble College and like-minded leaders in the industry to demonstrate our solidarity against counterfeiting," said Suzanne BeDell, Managing Director, Education, Reference & Continuity, Elsevier. "Working together will help protect the IP of our authors and safeguard the public from piracy's negative effects."
The best practices outline steps to verify suppliers and avoid illegitimate sources. They require distributors to verify the sources of their textbooks, inspect inventory that has a high risk of being counterfeit and prevent it from infecting their inventory. And when a distributor finds counterfeit books, there is agreement to share information about the materials and the supplier with the publishers so they can focus their enforcement efforts on the culprits.
The Anti-Counterfeit Best Practices are available at http://www.stopcounterfeitbooks.com with the goal that all publishers and distributors adopt and implement them as well. The Educational Publishers Enforcement Group (EPEG) is committed to pursuing their legal rights against anyone who is involved or who facilitates the distribution and sale of counterfeit textbooks, as well as those who engage in digital piracy. EPEG is hopeful that the adoption of the Best Practices by Barnes & Noble Education’s 1,400 physical and virtual bookstores will prove to have a dramatic effect on the number of counterfeits currently in the marketplace. EPEG is also currently in discussions with other distributors to sign on to the Best Practices as well.
“McGraw-Hill is pleased to see Barnes & Noble Education join Chegg and Ingram in adopting these best practices. We hope other distributors will follow their lead,” said McGraw-Hill Education CEO, David Levin. “The trade in counterfeits is not a benign one – it is based on the theft of intellectual property, and reduces the incentive to create new and improved educational materials.”
"By agreeing to these best practices, Barnes & Noble College is setting a strong example on the right way to combat counterfeit textbooks and piracy,” said Kevin Capitani, president, North America at Pearson. "We will continue to advocate for the integrity of high quality courseware and are pleased to be working with distributors that share that commitment."
The Publishers worked cooperatively through EPEG to achieve agreement with Barnes & Noble Education on the Best Practices. EPEG was represented by Oppenheim + Zebrak, LLP, and Barnes & Noble Education was represented by Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, LLP.