Police seize 2,700 counterfeit university books, Montreal

As part of an investigation into offences under the Copyright Act, officers of the RCMP Federal Investigation Section conducted four searches in photocopy stores in Montréal in the last few weeks. Their objective was to put an end to the activities of groups involved in the illegal distribution and sale of photocopied university books. Some 2,700 counterfeit books and digests were seized as well as a significant quantity of material used for copying. The total value of the books seized is estimated at close to $540,000.

As a result of mounting complaints from legitimate businesses in the university press industry, an investigative project was initiated to take a closer look at this phenomenon. The investigators found that it was a well-organized practice affecting all the local universities.

A total of 13 individuals were arrested in the course of the police operations. Charges under the Copyright Act could be filed at the end of the investigation.

Early investigation information indicates that the businesses had been active for several years. Some of them used a legitimate front to engage in illegal photocopying of university books. Others rented premises in the vicinity of universities for the back-to-school period and advertized their services through various means, mainly word of mouth within university communities.

The subjects made photocopies based on university program course lists. All they had to do was to show their student card to obtain the course material. The books and digests in question could be sold at a quarter of the list price on average.

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