June 21, 2017: Cengage, McGraw-Hill Education, and Pearson today filed a lawsuit against Follett, which includes Valore, a recently acquired subsidiary, for distributing counterfeit textbooks. This lawsuit comes only after the publishers’ months-long efforts to convince Follett to change their practices of purchasing and selling counterfeit textbooks. Once those efforts failed, the Publishers had no choice but to file suit in order to protect their rights.
The Publishers routinely find counterfeit textbooks being sold in large quantities in Follett’s stores, from Follett’s many online sites, and by Follett’s wholesale operations. The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, asserts claims for copyright and trademark infringement under federal law for the distribution of those counterfeits.
Counterfeit textbooks have a significant negative impact on authors, educators, researchers and publishers. Selling counterfeit textbooks is no different from stealing from those whose creative and intellectual work is contained in those textbooks. It also harms the students who mistakenly purchase an unauthorized and sometimes inferior product. In cases where authentic materials include access to required digital assets, students buying counterfeit materials are left without a complete product. By routinely and systematically buying counterfeit textbooks and selling them as though they are legitimate, Follett creates and enables a market for illegitimate goods.
Counterfeit textbooks reduce incentives for publishers to invest in newer, updated learning materials and business models that promote more affordable options for course materials. Over the last several years, publishers have sought to remove counterfeit textbooks from the marketplace, and hold those who seek profit from them responsible. The Publishers’ enforcement efforts seek to create a level playing field for those distributors and businesses that play by the rules, purchasing and selling legitimate products.
Cengage, McGraw-Hill Education and Pearson recently introduced the Anti-Counterfeit Best Practices, a set of principles designed to address the growing problem of counterfeit print textbooks. These Best Practices assist distributors with combating counterfeits of print textbooks that hurt students, educators, authors, publishers and distributors. The Anti- Counterfeit Best Practices are available at: www.stopcounterfeitbooks.com.