Judge issues sweeping order against e-book piracy operation

A federal judge in Washington has issued a preliminary injunction against a major e-book piracy operation known as KISS Library, after the site’s operators failed to respond to a lawsuit filed in July by the Guild of authors, Amazon Publishing, Penguin Random House, and a number of best-selling authors.

The sweeping order effectively ends the operation in its current iteration and seeks to prevent the defendants and any of their service providers, including payment processors, banks, ISPs, back-end service providers and search engine or advertising word providers, to collaborate in distributing Claimant’s copyrighted works in the future.

“Despite being notified of the time, date and call-in numbers for the hearing, the defendants did not appear for the hearing or file a response to the plaintiffs’ documents or to the order of the court,” the court noted in issuing its relief.

In addition to shutting down the affiliate sites, the court ordered an expedited discovery of the case and a temporary freeze of all assets and accounts related to the operation. Financial institutions associated with the operation are now required to “immediately locate all accounts linked to defendants or websites” and prevent transfers or withdrawals of funds.

In a notable passage of her 10-page order, Judge Marsha J. Pechman acknowledged the difficulty of holding such online piracy operations accountable.

“The defendants went to great lengths to conceal their identity, location and proceeds of detection from the plaintiffs and the Court, including using multiple false identities and addresses associated with their operations and deliberately misleading contact information” , recognized Pechman. She also noted that “at least some of the defendants are likely to be overseas” and that the defendants “will likely seek to destroy, move, conceal, or otherwise render inaccessible their infringing product, copies of the infringing works, and sites Websites Used to Display and Distribute such Works.”

The order comes after plaintiffs filed a July 8 lawsuit in federal court in Washington state seeking to shut down the KISS Library, believed to be a Ukraine-based piracy site that operates under a number of different domain names using a sophisticated and legitimate-looking system. site designed to trick consumers into selling illegally pirated e-books to American readers.

“Over the past few years, we have worked through various channels to limit the proliferation of e-book piracy sites, but the KISS Library has been a challenge because it is a particularly egregious criminal enterprise,” said Mary Rasenberger, Executive Director of Authors. Guild, announcing the lawsuit. “While the main culprits are the KISS library websites and operators, it doesn’t help that sites devoted to e-book piracy are easily accessible through US search engines,” added the president of the Authors. Guild, Douglas Preston.

Named plaintiffs from the Authors Guild include its president Preston and members Lee Child, Sylvia Day, John Grisham, CJ Lyons, Jim Rasenberger, TJ Stiles, RL Stine, Monique Truong, Scott Turow, Nicholas Weinstock and Stuart Woods.

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