RapidShare ordered to remove pirated e-books

File-hosting company RapidShare has now received a court injunction from several book publishers looking to crack down on e-book piracy.

RapidShare is based in Switzerland, but the court-ordered injunction originated in Hamburg, Germany — and 148 e-books must be taken down immediately.  RapidShare must also use anti-piracy measures to help prevent future cases of copyrighted book piracy.

“This ruling is an important step forward.  Not only does it affirm that file-sharing copyrighted content without permission is against the law, but it attaches a hefty financial punishment to the host, in this case Rapidshare, for noncompliance,” said Tom Allen, Association of American Publishers CEO, in a statement.

RapidShare ordered to remove pirated e-books

If RapidShare doesn’t comply, the site faces up to $339,000 in monetary fines and jail sentences for some executives.

This is the first significant case of a web site being targeted for e-book piracy, but could be the first of several other lawsuits.

E-book piracy still occurred before the rise in popularity of e-readers, but it wasn’t such a large threat to publishers in the past.  As book sales continue to slide while consumers transition to e-books, publishers have taken a renewed interest in protecting the digital versions.

Amazon has recently been forced to raise e-book prices by several book publishers and many e-readers ship with DRM to prevent e-books pirating.  I think if book publishers are so anxious to raise prices, they’ll find even more people will begin reading pirated e-books.