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Vietnamese publisher First News has sued the e-commerce platform Lazada, an Alibaba subsidiary, for repeatedly abetting the sales of pirated books and ignoring its warnings.

The Ho Chi Minh City-based company announced it had filed a suit in the District 1 People’s Court against the e-commerce company for allowing merchants to sell fake copies of its bestsellers.

The publisher demands that Lazada removes all fake books and stops allowing their sale in the future.

Nguyen Van Phuoc, First News CEO, said the issue had been raised with Lazada for the last 12 months by sending it documents and evidence of counterfeiting, but it made no effort to stop the selling of pirated books, and the matter worsened.

The fakes sold on Lazada cost half the original prices including the classic self-help titles “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by American writer Dale Carnegie and the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series.

First News was established in 1994 and has published or distributed over 2,000 titles until now. Last year,

686 of its titles were counterfeited and sold on e-commerce platforms, said Phuoc.

In a statement by Lazada Vietnam, the company said it required all merchants on its platform to comply with local laws and piracy would be punished according to the law, but it did not make any reference to First News’ allegations.

In recent years, Vietnamese publishers have been grappling with widespread illegal reproduction of their titles.

The Ho Chi Minh City-based company Tre Publishing House last year discovered a pirated version of its Japanese For Everyone book sold on Tiki, a Vietnamese e-commerce platform. The website later suspended the account of the fake bookseller.

Publishers lament that e-commerce platforms often deny their involvement in the selling of pirated books, claiming they are merely intermediaries who provide trading space and do not store the goods themselves.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade requires e-commerce sites to remove all information related to counterfeit goods if they receive complaints backed by evidence.

Source: Retail News Asia