A bench warrant has been issued for the arrest of Andrew Amue by the High Court in London after Amue failed to appear at a hearing to enforce a March 2008 order that he cease copyright infringement on hundreds of Christian books.

Acting on behalf of several of its members, the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) asked the High Court to hold Amue in contempt for refusing to comply with the court’s order that he stop displaying and charging for access to more than 130 works on his Web sites, www.evanglibrary.info and www.evanglibrary.com.

In 2004 ECPA discovered that Amue’s site at www.biblecentre.net featured the full texts of hundreds of copyrighted Christian theological works that had been posted without permission. After first offering free access to the texts, Amue began to charge a subscription fee. To address the infringement ECPA organized a coalition of its members, including Thomas Nelson, Zondervan, Baker Publishing Group, Tyndale House, Moody Publishers, Logos Software, and InterVarsity Press U.K. to file charges against Amue.

ECPA president and CEO Mark Kuyper told PW this was the first time the association had encountered infringement on this scale, and with this persistence. “Our individual publishers issue take-down notices all the time, and usually sites comply right away. But Amue just doesn’t give up.” Added Kuyper, “We were very concerned looking at a future of digital publishing about how people like Amue might abuse their access. We wanted to make sure to set a precedent going forward.”

From 2004 to 2008, ECPA sent Amue a series of letters and e-mails asking him to either remove the works or obtain the necessary licenses. Amue either ignored the letters and e-mails or defended himself, “even getting indignant and belligerent that we would ask him to do that,” said Kuyper. Amue’s whereabouts are currently unknown, and he is believed to be operating under a false name. “He’s disappeared before, and we’ve always found him,” said Kuyper. “I expect we will again.”