Thursday, October 02, 2008

Blame Canada: Publishers reach settlement with pirate mygazines site

Quietly, the major U.S. publishers have reached a settlement with the rogue file-sharing site that will see it remove all copyrighted material. And for the first time it is apparent that the site's originator was a Canadian, Darren Andrew Budd of Toronto, according to a story posted by Folio: and backed up by copies of the various court documents obtained by the magazine.

Mygazines emerged earlier in mid-July (first reported here on July 22) with a site that displays entire, current and recent, scanned issues of magazines from around the world -- including many major Canadian titles -- available to view in a digital format with page flipping and zoom technology.

The copyright lawsuit was launched earlier this year by some of the major players in the magazine business: Time Inc., Hearst, Hachette, McGraw-Hill, American Media Inc., Reed Business Information, Bonnier, Ziff Davis and Forbes, among others. They settled the case on September 8 and an order was issued in Toronto on September 9 requiring mygazines to remove all copyrighted material from Magazine Publishers of America members. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. According to a source quoted by Folio:,

Mygazines has agreed to remove all of the publishers’ copyrighted content, review and screen uploads for any content not authorized by the publishers and open a channel to allow Mygazines to be notified when copyrighted content appears.

Legal experts had speculated that a case against Mygazines, which lists its address as a post office box on the Caribbean island of Anguilla—a British territory—would be difficult to enforce outside of the jurisdiction of U.S. copyright law. But the firm representing the publishers identified a Canadian, Darren Andrew Budd of Toronto, as the site’s founder, and filed suit against Budd, Salveo Ltd.—the company to which the site was registered—its designers and hosting companies in the U.S. Southern District Court of New York on August 21, asking the court to shut down the site in the United States. (A separate suit involving even more publishers—including Meredith, IDG, Martha Stewart, U.S. News and Wenner Media et al—was filed simultaneously in Canada.) is still live and the shadowy owners are still maintaining that they want to work collaboratively with publishers, including putting up a feature recently that allows demographic information to be tracked of the people who dowload the posted magazines.

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