If you don’t know who or what is John Wiley & Sons, an explanation is needed – they are the publishing house behind the “for dummies” series. Amongst their published books, we also find “BitTorrent for Dummies”, a guide co-authored by Kris Krug and made available on BitTorrent’s networks.
Although Kris Krug once said that “BitTorrent and data and the Internet yearn to be free. I would love to see everyone download ‘BitTorrent for Dummies’”, Wiley and Sons still went after four New Yorkers, suing them on grounds of copyright infringement.
“It makes them look completely ridiculous and underscores their lack of understanding. That someone has to self-identify as a dummy to be their customer … it’s not a great brand. If you can’t figure out BitTorrent in five minutes by yourself and you buy my book, really there’s not much hope for you,” Kris said when he found out about this.
John Wiley & Sons is one of the world’s most recognized publishers when it comes to beginners’ guides. The company’s attorney William Dunnegan told TorrentFreak:
“Our intention is to stop the infringement and let individuals know that they are violating the law and depriving the creators of the works of rightful compensation. Our preference is to educate, settle, and prevent further infringement.”
The usual strategy was to obtain information about infringers and quietly get a settlement (approximately $7000). This was not the case for Jeff Ng, Ralph Mohr, Robert Carpenter, and Xiaoshu Chen. The four were initially tagged as John Does in a lawsuit that included other defendants (see the record here), but after failing to negotiate and settle, they were identified and brought to public justice. The publishing house has also asked for a fine of $150.000.
According to the company, starting with the second half of 2010 their “Photoshop CS5 All-in-one-for-Dummies” has been downloaded for more than 74.000 times. In that regard, a former employee of John Wiley & Sons – James Harper – said on Publisher’s Weekly that:
“If you look at the metadata for most of the pirated books you’ll see that they’re coming from the publishers and their contractors (compositors, printers, PR, distributors, etc.) Publishers don’t protect their CMS well and their partners don’t either. If everything is trafficked on poorly secured FTP sites during production and printing, and dozens of people have access to the archived versions, it’s not a surprise when the files leak. The fact that many books are leaked before they’re printed also points to the source.”
However, these security breaches are not something new; they are persistent within the movie industry (and not just there), a problem that eventually leads to leaks, just as much as for (e)books.
What will happen with the four unlucky New Yorkers is to be seen, but just as it happened before, John Wiley & Sons may win this lawsuit.