The UK High Court has ordered all internet service providers (ISP) to block several popular ebook piracy websites in the first major victory for book publishers.
Within 10 days, ISPs such as BT, Sky, Virgin Media, Talk Talk and EE will have to block access to Ebookee, LibGen, Freshwap, AvaxHome, Bookfi, Bookre and Freebookspot, which collectively offer over 10 million titles online for users to illegally download for free.
The High Court's decision is in response to a request made by the Publishers Association, an industry body made up of over 100 book publishers around the world, which argued that ISPs had "actual knowledge" that their users were infringing copyright, and therefore the websites should be blocked.
The Publishers Association told IBTimes UK earlier this month that its copyright infringement portal has issued over three million take-down notices to ebook piracy websites since it was created in 2009, as well as requesting Google remove over 1.75 million URLs relating to ebook piracy from its search results.
The advent of ebooks has made it much easier to illegally duplicate and share them, as it is much easier to duplicate a digital file than to get a printer to publish a fake edition.
"We are very pleased that the High Court has granted this order and, in doing so, recognises the damage being inflicted on UK publishers and authors by these infringing websites," said Richard Mollet, CEO of the Publishers Association.
"A third of publisher revenues now come from digital sales but unfortunately this rise in the digital market has brought with it a growth in online infringement. Our members need to be able to protect their authors' works from such illegal activity; writers need to be paid and publishers need to be able to continue to innovate and invest in new talent and material."
Rather than taking legal action directly against piracy websites, entertainment industry bodies such as the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the UK music industry trade body BPI have resorted to suing ISPs to get them to block access to specific websites.
According to TorrentFreak, at the moment, over 120 domains are currently blocked in the UK.