Oceanofpdf, a website that was giving away pirated e-books, has been taken down.
The website, in operation for seven months, had a US domain name and offered users free PDF or Epub downloads of thousands of books, angering authors such as Philip Pullman, Robin Stevens and Michelle Harrison, who first spotted her books on the website last month.
At the time Pullman sent a tweet to @OceanofPDF saying: “Please show me the agreement you have with my publishers, or my agent, or me, which allows you to give my books away free.”
In early July a founder, who claimed his name was Nicholas Liam, said he ran the site to help readers from all over the world access books. “We're just a small team of four guys and do all the stuff ourselves,” he told The Bookseller at the time. “We only process users requests. Once we get an email from a user requesting a book that he/she cannot afford/find in the library or if he has lost it, we try to find it on their behalf and upload on our site so that someone in future might also get it.”
Liam claimed that “a few” authors had sent their books to to him to upload to gain user reviews and increase their readership. He was aware that some people wanted him to shut the site down but said: “We'll try to keep it active as long as we can."
His email, which was registered to oceanofpdf.com, is now no longer in use and the website has been taken offline.
Harrison, who campaigned for Oceanofpdf to close, tweeted: “So, *that* website with all the illegal book downloads? Looks like it’s gone (for now) according to tweets from disgruntled book thieves. I’m assuming this is down to the efforts of the decent book folk. Good work, everyone.”
Martin Reed of the Society of Authors said: "We’re pleased to see that the Oceanofpdf website isn’t currently online, but we’ll keep the champagne on ice for now. The site was enabled by many organisations in the supply chain – website hosts, DNS management services, website registrars – and in spite of many complaints from authors and trade those suppliers were universally reluctant to accept any responsibility. It’s difficult to tell which bit of the chain has been switched off, and if it’s as a result of one of those companies stepping up then this is an excellent outcome – but depending on where it has been deactivated, there’s still a chance it could be switched back on. The domain name, registered through GoDaddy, hasn’t been disabled.
"And the fact it has taken so long to see the anticipated ‘This site can’t be reached’ error message means that there’s plenty of scope to improve the way organisations can be expected to take responsibility for intellectual property that is illegally hosted on their machines or which passes without permission through their wires."
Several commentators on Reddit bemoaning the loss of free titles and one said: “This is really sad, I loved that site. I'd been reading a series of 12 books from it and I just finished #10. Time to find another website I guess.”
Another posted: “I know that authors are mad that they gave away the books for free but some of us read books so fast that it’s like a meal. Books are expensive. I hope oceanofpdf will open another website. But I also hope they will have to let us sign in to our email to view the books and etc. so that it will be harder for authors to find.”
A third poster said: "I'm devastated. Books are expensive where I am and Oceanofpdf was a godsend since I just got a Kobo. The best thing about the site was that I emailed them requesting books they didn't have, and they uploaded the books within 2 days."
While a fourth added: "Thank you (and your team) for providing us free e-books for the last 7 months. Thank you for making your website an easy access to download and read books that we can't afford to buy at our bookstores, books that are not sold/allowed to be sold in our country, books that's just hard to find, etc. It's just so devastating that your site was taken down. For me and probably for the others, it was the best website to request and download e-books."