Publisher asserts property rights over pirate copies of Gangster State

Staff Writer | Apr 27, 2019
Penguin Random House, publisher of Gangster State, Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of Capture, promises legal action to stop distribution of pirated copies of the book.

Penguin Random House has said it will take legal action against individuals who are circulating pirated copies of the book by Pieter-Louis Myburgh on controversial ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule.

The publisher said in a statement that it “is appalled by the ongoing illegal distribution of a pirated PDF of Gangster State, which is widely being disseminated on social media. It is of even more concern that prominent individuals appear to encourage this unlawful activity”.

This infringed both the publisher’s and the author’s copyright. 

“We wish to make clear to the public that the only way to obtain an ebook legally is to buy it from an ebook retailer or to borrow it from an authorised ebook library. Any copying or distribution of a pirated ebook, or any forwarding of a link to the pirated ebook, is unlawful. 

“We will take legal action against individuals who are circulating pirated copies, which may include criminal complaints once we have collected all the necessary information.”

Author Pieter-Louis Myburgh said: “There is clear copyright legislation in place that should protect authors from piracy. It is astonishing that a senior political leader and a top legal professional are amongst those who seem to encourage the sharing of illegal copies of Gangster State on a public platform like Twitter.”

The launch of the book in Johannesburg earlier this month was violently disrupted by supporters of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) – damage and theft was estimated to amount to R30 000. The bookshop thuggery coincided with an announcement of plans to burn copies of the book in Mangaung in the Free State, but the outcry over the ANCYL’s plans compelled it to scupper the book burning.

IRR head of politics and governance Gareth van Onselen said in a statement at the time that the destruction of books “is absolutely unacceptable and needs not only to be condemned in the strongest terms, but met with swift and meaningful consequences. It is a direct threat to the rule of law”.


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