Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Biblecentre.net: Copyright Violation

Some may remember that a few weeks ago I posted links to free online versions of Craig Keener's NT Backgrounds Commentary, as well as Howard Marshall's NT Theology. Recently Grudem's Systematic Theology has also appeared online.

The problem is that all of these are posted illegally by Andrew Amue of London. Legal action continues to be pursued. The upshot is that anyone who has linked to them should remove the link and not save these files on their computer.

Here's an email from John Hughes:
It has recently come to the attention of Wayne Grudem and myself that an illegal copy of his Systematic Theology has been posted on the Internet and that word of this, along with links to the site where the illegal copy is posted, has found its way to many Christian blog sites. I am working with Dr. Grudem to contact all sites that have links to this illegal copy of his book to ask them to remove the links immediately.

Dr. Grudem and I jointly hold the copyright to all electronic versions of his Systematic Theology. My company, Bits & Bytes, Inc., is the publisher of the Libronix, PC Study Bible, Pradis, and Olive Tree versions of this book. Posting a complete copy of Systematic Theology online is intellectual property theft -- a federal crime. Posting a link to the illegal copy or a link to a link is at the very least directing people to stolen goods.

On behalf of Dr. Grudem and myself, we respectfully request that all links to, and all links to links to, the illegal copy of Systematic Theology that is on the Internet be removed from all Christian blog sites. Thank you for honoring this request.

Sincerely, John Hughes, President Bits & Bytes, Inc.
And here's a press release that was sent to me when I posted earlier to the Keener and Howard books concerning the actions of Andrew Amue:
Phoenix, AZ—The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA), on behalf of a coalition of its member publishers, filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in London in October 2007 against a UK-based website, Biblecentre.net. The suit asks that the court prohibit the site from continuing to post nearly 130 Christian works without permission. ECPA has asked the court this week to award a victory to ECPA by default.

The Biblecentre.net site, operated by Andrew Amue, has provided Christian books for download for almost seven years without acquiring the necessary licenses from the publishers. Amue first offered product downloads for free, then started charging a membership fee. ECPA and the publishers repeatedly demanded for Amue to respect the copyright of the works; however, Amue refused to secure the necessary license or to remove the content from his website.

Working with a UK-based lawyer, the ECPA team was able to shut down Biblecentre.net through its Internet Service Provider (ISP) in 2004. However, Amue found a new ISP and re-launched the website a short time later. “We realized quickly that this website would continue to pop up somewhere else,” says ECPA President Mark Kuyper. “It was like a digital ‘whack-a-mole’ arcade game.”

In 2006, ECPA and the publishing coalition, comprised of Thomas Nelson, Zondervan, Baker Publishing Group, Tyndale, Moody, Logos Software, and IVP UK, began preparing legal action to prove Amue’s copyright infringement. The coalition is represented by Brian Flagler of the Flagler Law Group in the US and Martyn Bailey of Forbes Anderson Free in the UK. In light of Amue’s failure to respond to the allegations, ECPA has asked the court to award a victory by default.

“This lawsuit represents a clear and strong statement to would-be online infringers that blatant copyright infringement will not be tolerated by the ECPA community,” says Flagler. “The publishers in this case took great efforts to amicably resolve this infringement with Mr. Amue, but his continued actions made obvious that he intended to profit from his infringement with utter disregard for copyright. As the stewards of these works, many important theological research materials, the publishers chose to take action.”

“This case sets an important precedent in digital rights protection,” says Greg Thornton, Vice President of Publications, Moody Publishers. “And it will continue to be a significant issue as we move toward more and more digital content.”