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Oz deal site admits e-book piracy snafu

Cudo loses kudos

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Dominant Australian group buying player Cudo has issued a mea culpa for its ill-fated decision to promote a Chinese e-book reader pre-loaded with 4000 pirated books.

Cudo, which is backed by two companies that live and die from the proceeds of licenced content - Microsoft and the Nine Network - claims the offering was a horrible mistake.

The deal, which closed yesterday, was on behalf of merchant Grab Bargains. It featured a white label e-reader, made in China, coupled with a CD – remember those? - with a wonderland of pirated books for buyers' reading pleasure, including choice inclusions of Dan Brown and other airport rip snorters.

The book list originally linked to the offer was on a domain apparently registered by an individual in China.

Around 2000 e-readers had been sold, but after being alerted by the press Cudo changed the details of the deal and erased reference to the dodgy book list, which matched various pirated book lists such as this.

"Despite the merchant's assurances that the offer complies with all relevant Australian laws, including copyright laws, our assessment of the 4,000 e-book titles determined that this may not be the case,” Cudo CEO Mike Sneesby said. Cudo claims that the merchant, Grab Bargains, breached the terms of its Cudo booking agreement.

“As soon as we determined this, Cudo took action to recall the original offer and replace it with a higher quality device, and provide customers with a new source of legitimate e-book content,” Sneesby explained.

Customers who purchased the deal will receive a higher specification e-book reader, and Cudo confirmed that they have contacted all customers to inform them of this.

“Our primary concern is that customers get the deal they purchased, and receive the quality and value they expect. Customers who are not happy with the new offer will be refunded in full." ®

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