100,000 pirated books

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The Oxford University Press has seized over 100,000 pirated books in a series of raids carried out across Pakistan this month.

The latest move is part of an extensive campaign by Oxford University Press Pakistan, the leading publishing company for school textbooks in the country, to crack down on illegal copies of their books being widely distributed.

The raids have been conducted in association with the Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO), a Pakistani government body committed to the protection of copyrights and patents.

In a statement released by OUP, the city of Lahore was declared the “centre of book piracy”. Lahore is regarded as the literary hub of Pakistan, and the OUP-IPO campaign has also been supported by the local police, where the majority of the books have been seized.

Ameena Saiyid, OUP Pakistan’s managing director commented: “We need to enforce laws because they are the only effective deterrent against piracy. We will continue as long as it takes to wipe out piracy from the country.”

Saiyid estimates that the Pakistani government losses up to £150 million (20 billion Pakistan Rupees) in tax revenue each year because of the pirating of intellectual property.

A second-year law student originally from Pakistan did not seem surprised by this figure: “I’ve always found that book prices in Pakistan seem to be much higher than in India, so it’s no wonder that book piracy is such a big issue.”

“If OUP brought their prices down, then people wouldn’t have the need to buy pirated books,” he continued.

OUP Pakistan was not available for further comment.