UK authors and publishers have won a groundbreaking copyright court case in the Eastern European country of Moldova against the operator of a pirate website which was illegally distributing the copyright works of authors including J K Rowling, Arthur C Clarke and Robert Jordan.
The civil case appeared before the Moldovan Copyright Tribunal in March with lawyer Valeriu Cociu engaged by the Publishers Association to represent the interests of the affected UK authors and publishers.
Several works by J K Rowling, Arthur C Clarke and Robert Jordan had appeared on the SYMPAD website. The novels were made available free of charge, no copyright permission had been given and the owner appeared to be receiving revenue from advertising on the site.
In a statement received by the PA (Publishers Association) from the State Copyright Agency the rulings of the Moldovan Tribunal are outlined, including a permanent injunction preventing the owner from infringement of the above authors copyright and the awarding of damages totalling 3,600 lei (200 times minimum wage) to each author.
The offending material was ordered to be removed from the internet and the Tribunal has ordered that experts periodically monitor the owner's website to ensure there are no further cases of illegal use of copyright of UK citizens.
The result is a milestone in international co-operation in defence of authors rights with the PA Copyright Counsel, Mr Hugh Jones, saying today that it was a rewarding win.
"These three authors are just a small sample of those whose copyright works were being illegally distributed via this website," Mr Jones said. "We are delighted to have put a stop to such blatant abuse of authors' rights but are continuing to monitor the region closely."
The Director General of the State Agency on Protection of Copyright in Moldova, Mr Andrei Afanasiev said it had been a pleasure to achieve such a positive result and "we hope for further mutually advantageous co-operation in the future."
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