Last week there was progress in the quest to end textbook piracy when the Textbook Torrents website was officially shut down in fear of a lawsuit. As noted in a previous posting, the website encouraged students to scan their textbooks into an electronic format so that other students could illegally download copies of the text. The welcome message on the website read,
“There are few scanned textbooks in circulation and that’s what we’re here to change. Chances are you have some textbooks sitting around, so pick up a scanner and start scanning it.”
According to a posting on TorrentFreak, a blog dedicated to news about BitTorrent, the admin of Textbook Torrents hopes that another replacement site will soon be available. When asked if he thought publishers had learned anything he stated,
“Intellectual property corporations are notorious for missing the point. Like I’ve said before, we were out to make a statement, to give out as much free stuff as possible, and I think we’ve made that statement - perhaps not as loudly as we could have given another few months and a little more perseverance - but certainly people have heard, and are talking. Piracy will never be sustainable for the textbook industry, but perhaps this is the first step towards a more sustainable model in the future.”
Surely the website has brought more attention to the issue of textbook piracy and many questions still remain on how to make content more affordable to students to prevent piracy in the future. Are you aware of any piracy prevention initiatives on your campus?