Counterfeit Textbook Ring Busted

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police cracked down on four photocopy stores that doubled as counterfeit textbook dealers in the surrounding Concordia area.

Corporal Luc Thibault said that they couldn’t release the exact whereabouts and names of the 13 people arrested because the RCMP hasn’t filed any charges yet.

“Charges under the copyright act could be filed,” said Thibault. “There’s a lot of material that was seized, including digests, photocopiers that were used to print counterfeit textbooks.”

Thibault added that “one of the complainants is a legitimate business in the university press industry; a client that had regular business with the university.”

Some students claim that the university press industry feeds textbook counterfeiting by setting high prices for their manuals.

Computer Science Student who wished to remain anonymous for fear of legal repercussions said textbooks “are ridiculously overpriced,” but takes issue with the sale of copying textbooks.

“They’re profiting off someone else’s work,” she said.

However, she said that, although she’s never done it herself, she wouldn’t feel bad downloading pirated textbooks because they’re not profiting off the copying of the textbook.

“I have seen people that download textbooks and hog the copy machine for an hour,” she added. “Most introductory textbooks are easy to find online.”

On the other hand, Concordia student double majoring in history and philosophy Guillaume Savoie usually buys used textbooks or photocopies individual chapters from textbooks provided by the library.

“I had free access to it anyways,” said Savoie. “I wanted the content of the text, whereas the counterfeiter is being paid for photocopying. The law doesn’t make a distinction there.

“I have trouble imagining a scholar who’d be offended at having his work copied,” he added.

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 20, published January 25, 2011.