Lazada claiming full compliance against First News' allegation

21:55 | 12/09/2020
While local publisher First News Co., Ltd. has officially filed a lawsuit against Alibaba-owned online marketplace Lazada for its failure to handle vendors selling counterfeit books on its platform, Lazada remains adamant in its claim that it always abides by local laws.
first news takes lazada to court over fake books allegation
The press conferecnce held by First News on September 9

Tri Viet Publishing House, registered as First News Co., Ltd., announced at a September 9 press conference that it has filed a lawsuit at the People’s Court of District 1 in Ho Chi Minh City.

Nguyen Van Phuoc, CEO of local publisher First News told VIR, “First News, as well as other Vietnamese publishers, assert that manufacturing and printing fake books are a violation of the Copyright Law, Berne Convention, and the Law on Publication. It is also a violation of Article 192 of the Criminal Code 2015.”

Over the past two weeks, Lazada was accused of abetting the sale of fake books. Accordingly, First News’ publication named Muon Kiep Nhan Sinh and more than 600 printed items were illegally printed and have been offered for sale by many vendors on the platform.

“First News prints only one version of a book, however, fake booksellers have many versions with very low prices. First News has 1,000 books but has to compete with more than 3,000 fake and smuggled books,” said Phuoc. “Readers and dealers find it increasingly difficult to distinguish fake and authentic books due to the growing skills of counterfeiters.”

This has resulted in an 80 per cent plunge in customer footfall at its bookshops, according to First News.

In the lawsuit, First News requested Lazada to immediately close the stores selling counterfeit books that the publisher has detected. The publishing company also asked Lazada to take measures to manage, control, and prevent the sale of counterfeit books on its trading platform, as well as make sure bookstores and book vendors can prove the legal origin of the books being traded.

Right after First News’ press briefing, Lazada issued a press release stating, “We always abide by the prevailing rules, and take measures to strictly manage our platform to bring the best possible experience for brands, vendors, and customers.”

“We have been making more efforts to deal with all related complaints in accordance with the current law,” the document states. It, however, did not directly respond to the allegations made by First News.

Phuoc elaborated that along with filing the lawsuit against Lazada, First News is collecting evidence relating to the sale of fake books on other e-commerce sites such as Sendo and Shopee, which often offer big promotions on book items.

He said that over the past two years, the company has many times contacted the platforms to report violations of its copyright in the vain hope that the vendors would be closed.

“They [the e-commerce platforms] said that they are only platforms letting vendors operate by charging a 13 per cent commission on their revenue. Therefore, they said they are not responsible for the performance of the vendors,” said Phuoc.

Responding to queries about fake books, a representative of Sendo told VIR that it regularly rechecks all book items traded on its platform to ensure compliance with its strict requirements, which include vendors getting licences to export and import printed materials from the Ministry of Information and Communications.

Echoing this, the representative of Shopee told VIR that the company will collaborate with local authorities to inspect related violations. At the same time, the platform also asserted that it is doing all in its power to crack down on vendors selling fake and smuggled goods or items violating intellectual property rights as soon as receiving reliable reports, following Decree No.52/2013/ND-CP and Circular No.47/2014/TT-BCT.

“We only partner with genuine sellers who can submit the required documents and materials proving that the items they put on sale are authentic,” said the representative, adding that to date, Shopee has yet to receive “reliable allegations” from First News.

According to the publishing house, many "fake versions" of its books with poor quality and errors have been sold on Lazada since the beginning of 2019.

By Thuy Anh

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