Global Sourcing and Piracy
No region in the world is safe from piracy. That's the conclusion of Patricia Judd, executive director of international copyright enforcement and trade policy at the Association of American Publishers (AAP) in Washington, D.C.
"Piracy is a worldwide phenomenon," Judd says. The AAP estimates losses to its members of more than $600 million a year in about 67 markets across the globe.
As more book publishers explore their offshore book manufacturing options, foreign book manufacturers are boosting efforts to lure American publishers. It's all in the name of lowering costs. But does this offshore manufacturing activity put publishers at an increased risk of piracy? "Not really," is the response from most experts.
One potential risk is offset piracy, when printers make additional copies without permission from the publishers, Judd says. "It still occurs in certain markets such as China, India and Pakistan," mainly with high-end professional and scholarly publications. Those who print the unauthorized copies could be workers or owners.
But Judd says these instances are rare and most piracy losses overseas are from commercial-scale photocopying of educational materials. "This is undertaken most often by commercial photocopy shops—some independent, some highly networked. These shops often derive almost all of their profit off of these activities," Judd says.
"As far as photocopying is concerned, it doesn't matter where the original book was manufactured, as pirate enterprises engaging in this type of activity need not have anything but a regular, legitimate copy of a book in order to destroy the market," she explains.
Another risk is online file trading of scanned books. Judd says this is starting to be a significant threat to the publishing industry. "This, of course, can be undertaken by both individuals or large-scale commercial sites," Judd says, both onshore and offshore.
To crack down on piracy, AAP is concentrating most of its enforcement efforts in Asia, Judd says. Part of the effort includes working with local officials to shut down illegal photocopying shops. AAP reports raids in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines and Taiwan in 2004. The trade group also has lobbying efforts to promote stronger laws.