Landmark prosecution for textbook copyright infringement

The Chinese-language United Daily News reported today (8 Nov.) that Taichung prosecutors have indicted a college student for violating Taiwan’s Copyright Act by having a print and copy shop make four copies of extensive extracts from a textbook on marketing management. The prosecutors are asking the court to sentence the student to 20 days of detention.

While that sentence is largely symbolic since most sentences of less than six months can be converted to a fine, the prosecution itself is significant because prosecutors have traditionally enforced the copyright against the print shops that accept orders to copy textbooks rather than the students who commission the copying.

The copying of textbooks at print and copy shops located near universities has been a longstanding issue for foreign rights holders. In the past, prosecutors have cited the fair use provisions of Taiwan’s copyright law and high textbook prices as reasons not to prosecute students who have textbooks copied. The Taichung indictment is the first of its kind and while prosecutors claimed that evidence connecting the copied textbooks to the accused student compelled them to indict, this milestone indictment suggests increased willingness to enforce Taiwan’s copyright law against end users.

For more information in IP enforcement in Taiwan, please contact Christine Chen at +886-2-2311-8307.