Russian Association for Copyright Protection on the Internet, which represents the Russian largest book publishers, such as Eksmo-AST, Azbuka-Attikus, Alpina Digital etc., sent a letter to EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager, demanding to charge Google for abusing its dominant position on the market. As reported by Kommersant Newspaper, which has a copy of abovementioned letter, the Association declares that Google allows ‘massive copyright infringements’ on Google Play Market by not banning applications that provide access to pirated book copies. Among such apps the Association mentions Ok.ru, Mail.ru, Telegram, YouTube and WattPad, popular among Russian residents of EU.
‘In the past two years Google has banned 60 small mobile apps, but the big platforms are granted immunity,’ assumes the Director General of the Association Maksim Riabiko. In his opinion, Google does not take banning measures to maintain its position as a dominant player, since free books attract users.
This creates certain barriers to enter European market for distributors and retailers of legal ebooks, such as Storytel, Bookmate and LitRes.
Regarding the Association’s demand,
Russian publishers expressed varied opinions. Eksmo-AST and Storytel
representatives provided their support and emphasized that app
developers did not duly handle the copyright claims. Bookmate, on the
other hand, noted that EU legislation and law enforcement did not block
the expansion in Europe and that tech giants, including Google,
responded quickly to all requests.