A group of five major educational publishers has won another preliminary injunction in federal court, this one blocking the operations of some 60 anonymously controlled websites accused of selling “illegal, unlicensed copies” of digital editions of the publishers' books.

The injunction is the fourth successful action in two years for the group, known as the Educational Publishers Enforcement Group (EPEG), which consists of Cengage, Elsevier, Macmillan Learning, McGraw Hill and Pearson.

In this case, the publishers first filed suit against the operators of these websites on August 9, 2021, immediately winning a Temporary Restraining Order that required the immediate shutdown of any infringing activity. With the preliminary injunction, that relief is now extended for the duration of the litigation.

"Defendants knowingly and intentionally designed and operate businesses devoted to selling pirated copies of Plaintiffs’ and other publishers’ copyrighted works," the initial complaint alleges. "Defendants’ awareness of the unlawful nature of their businesses is further demonstrated by their concreted efforts to conceal their true names and physical locations, which frustrate enforcement efforts to stop their unlawful activity."

In addition, the preliminary injunction requires the cessation of support services to the allegedly infringing sites, including search engines, most notably to Google and Bing, which "attract customers searching for the publishers' legitimate content to their websites," as well as payment processors, web hosts, domain registrars, proxy service providers, and other internet service providers.