Education and technology company Cengage has announced an initiative to work against the spreading of counterfeit print course materials in educational publishing. Effective immediately, the company's products will include a seal of certification, replete with a QR code and other indicators, in order to verify the authenticity of its materials.

"Stolen materials hurt students by driving up costs and limiting investment in new, more affordable products," Michael E. Hansen, CEO of Cengage, said in a statement. "We are committed to fighting this illegal activity in all forms and are aggressively exploring additional ways to reduce its impact with our sales partners."

In a release, Cengage noted that counterfeit materials are "estimated to cost the company between $70 million to $100 million annually." A study, conducted with the Education Publisher Enforcement Group, reviewed inventories of a number of online sellers in order to determine the percentage of counterfeit course materials sold, and found that some portions of online inventories held more than 75% counterfeit books, and others were composed of 100% counterfeit materials.

"At Ingram, we value the efforts of Cengage to crack down on counterfeit materials," Ingram Content Group CCO Shawn Everson said in a statement. (Ingram distributes for Cengage.) "We’re eager to work with Cengage and others in the publishing community to help ensure that the marketplace is secure and legitimate for students and faculty.”