SEO

Google sued by publishers over alleged pirate textbook promotion

Major educational publishers — Cengage, Macmillan Learning, McGraw Hill and Elsevier — have filed a lawsuit against Google, accusing it of promoting pirated copies of their textbooks.

Why it matters. This case could reshape how tech giants handle copyright infringement and impact the $8.3 billion U.S. textbook market.

Why we care. Advertisers will care about this lawsuit because it strikes at the heart of ad integrity and fair competition. If the allegations are true — that Google promotes pirated textbooks while restricting ads for legitimate ones – it suggests the tech giant may not be providing a level playing field or ensuring brand safety. 

Details.

  • Filed in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • Google accused of ignoring thousands of infringement notices
  • Pirated e-books allegedly featured at the top of search results
  • Publishers claim Google restricts ads for licensed e-books

By the numbers. Pirated textbooks are often sold at artificially low prices, undercutting legitimate sellers.

What they’re saying. “Google has become a thieves’ den for textbook pirates,” Matt Oppenheim, the publishers’ attorney, told Reuters.

  • Google hasn’t commented on the lawsuit.

What’s next. The case (No. 1:24-cv-04274) seeks unspecified monetary damages.

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About the author

Anu Adegbola

Anu Adegbola has been Paid Media Editor of Search Engine Land since 2024. She covers paid search, paid social, retail media, video and more.

In 2008, Anu’s career started with

 delivering digital marketing campaigns (mostly but not exclusively Paid Search) by building strategies, maximising ROI, automating repetitive processes and bringing efficiency from every part of marketing departments through inspiring leadership both on agency, client and marketing tech side.

Outside editing Search Engine Land article she is the founder of PPC networking event – PPC Live, host of weekly podcast PPCChat Roundup, and brand evangelist at ClickTech. 
She is also an international speaker with some of the stages she has presented on being SMX (US), SMX (Munich), Friends of Search (Amsterdam), brightonSEO, The Marketing Meetup, HeroConf (PPC Hero), SearchLove, BiddableWorld, SESLondon, PPC Chat Live, AdWorld Experience (Bologna) and more.

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