Fri, Sep 16, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Publishers lobbying legislature to make copying textbooks an indictable offense


University students stage a demonstration outside the legislature in Taipei yesterday calling on legislators to make book piracy an indictable offense.

Photo: CNA

Illegal photocopying of books at national and private universities is rampant and publishers hope the practice can be changed to an indictable offense, the Taiwan Book Publishers Association (TBPA) said yesterday.

At present, judges only take action if a plaintiff takes the charges to court. The association hopes legal revisions can make textbook copying an indictable offense, so that prosecutors and judges would be legally bound to take action upon being informed of such an act.

At a press conference held by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Chia-chen (盧嘉辰), attended by National Police Agency Protection of Intellectual Property Rights Brigade deputy chief Shih Hsiu-yi (施秀宜) and members of the TBPA, TBPA chairperson Lin Chia-pei (林嘉珮) said college students copied books not because they could not afford them, but simply to save money.

More than 10 percent of college professors respect a student’s decision to use illegally reproduced textbooks, Lin said, adding that only 10 percent of college professors forbid students from using them.

After investigating print shops around campuses, the TPBA found some made public an index of textbooks and allowed students to place orders for copies, Lin said.

The TPBA is filing a petition with the legislature and the Ministry of Education asking that both face up to the problem of illegally reproduced college textbooks, Lin said.

“We hope the legislature and the ministry will reinforce calls on professors to lead by example and use only legal copies of textbooks,” Lin said. “We also hope that college students will not use illegally reprinted college textbooks or illegally download textbooks, and we also call on print shops not to reprint books without proper authorization.”

Shih said that if illegally reprinting books were changed to an indictable offense, investigations would fall under the authority of police.

Shih said the National Police Agency would support whatever decision the government made.

Translated By Jake Chung, Staff Writer

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