Cape Town - Publishing house, Penguin Random House (PRH), has instructed its attorneys to send cease and desist letters to distributors of the pirated eBook of Truth to Power by André de Ruyter.
This comes after PRH warned the public against the illegal distribution of the pirated PDF copy that has been shared via WhatsApp, earlier this week.
In a statement, PRH said: “PRH does not wish to take legal action against individual members of the public, but the prevalence of this practice, not only in respect of this book but also in respect of others, is becoming so widespread that it leaves PRH with no choice. Illegal copies of the book are unfortunately still being distributed, particularly on WhatsApp groups and other social media channels, despite PRH’s earlier warning that it has the right to and will not hesitate to take legal action.”
PRH chief executive Steve Connolly, said: “The unlawful sharing of copyrighted works not only hurts PRH as a publisher, but also the many people who have spent countless hours bringing the work to life.
This includes the author, proof-readers, fact checkers, designers and the many people who rely on the publishing industry for their livelihood. It also includes the public at large, because the price of books would have to increase if widespread copyright infringement undermines the commercial value of the book.”
The publishing house said it had a number of legal rights it may pursue and was exploring these with its attorneys.
“This includes the right to interdict unlawful distributors from continuing their distribution of the work, and to sue them for damages. The Copyright Act furthermore provides that copyright infringement may constitute an offence punishable by a fine or imprisonment upon conviction. Sharing a copyrighted work without the copyright holder’s permission is unlawful. This is not a complicated legal matter and there is no room for misunderstanding on the part of the public. The people who are sharing these books are generally well aware that they are infringing these rights. The person sharing the work is not the only guilty party, but also those who thereafter read it or share it with others.
“PRH does not want the regrettable actions of a few individuals to cloud the immense importance of Truth to Power, and emphasises to those distributing the pirated eBook that PRH regards these unlawful acts in a very serious light. PRH requests that anyone aware of the unlawful distribution of titles published by PRH report it to [email protected] by including the following: name, cellphone number, email address, screen grab as proof of the distribution, as well as links to the relevant posts. PRH will treat all such reports as confidential,” PRH statement read.