19 August 2021CopyrightAlex Baldwin

Russian publisher demands Telegram crackdown on book piracy

Russia’s largest publishing group Eksmo-AST has filed two copyright infringement lawsuits against the instant messaging service Telegram, with the stated goal of completely blocking the service in Russia.

Telegram was founded in March 2013 as an encryption-focused alternative to popular messaging apps. The app’s refusal to turn over user information of suspected pirates has led the app to be partially blocked in Russia.

Eksmo-AST Group filed two lawsuits at the Moscow City Court on 20 July, demanding that Telegram implement certain anti-piracy measures or risk being blocked.

The plaintiff’s preferred outcome, according to TorrentFreak, would be the implementation of digital fingerprinting technology which would allow publishers to delete infringing content on the service.

The plaintiff claims that Telegram allows pirated copies of Stephen King and Dmitry Glukhovsky works to be shared on the platform.

According to Russian newspaper Kommersant, the court has issued an interim injunction to block access to the books “11/22/63” by Stephen King, “Metro 2033” by Dmitry Glukhovsky and others distributed through the Telegram service.

AZAPI and Eksmo-AST

Representing Eksmo-AST in their lawsuits is the Association for the Protection of Copyright on the Internet’s (AZAPI) chief executive Maxim Ryabyko.

According to Kommersant, AZAPI has removed more than 52,000 pirated publications and 31 different channels from Telegram on behalf Eksmo-AST.

The association has also appealed to Apple to block 346 separate Telegram channels on IOS and 69 on Android for the publisher.

However, not all removal requests have been fulfilled by Telegram, rights holders say. AZAPI estimates that Eksmo-AST loses approximately 55 billion rubles ($743,000) in revenue per year to piracy on the messenger app.

Telegram litigation

In February, an Israeli court ordered Telegram to block the distribution of copyrighted films on the platform, following a lawsuit from anti-piracy group ZIRA.

Telegram failed to file a statement of defence, leading the court to rule in favour of the plaintiffs, ordering Telegram to stop hosting copyrighted materials and to pay NIS 100,000 ($30,700) in compensation and NIS 60,000 to cover legal costs.

The Dehli High Court also ordered Telegram to hand over the identity of users sharing e-newspapers on the platform.

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More on this story

16 February 2021   An Israeli court has ordered instant messaging service Telegram to block the distribution of copyrighted media on its platform, following a lawsuit from anti-piracy group ZIRA.
1 June 2020   The Delhi High Court has ordered instant messaging service Telegram to hand over the identity of users sharing e-newspapers for free on the platform.