A hitherto little-known piracy site has made headlines in the UK because of the ease of downloading titles, its range of books and the brazen attitude of the people behind it.
Oceanof PDF.com says: “We believe that knowledge and information should be free and accessible to everyone around the globe. There are many developing countries where you cannot easily buy your favorite books. They are literally out of reach of many people. Secondly, Amazon doesn’t deliver to many countries and not everyone has the financial means to buy stuff from the internet.”
It continues: “We also believe it should be really simple and easy to download your desired PDF / ePub of ebooks. There should be no sign up required, no membership registration needed, no annoying ads and popups. You should get what you want. Nice and easy. That’s why we built oceanofpdf.com.”
At the time of writing, the site has a frightening range of titles, including James Patterson and Bill Clinton’s The President is Missing, Stephen King’s The Outsider, Anthony Horowitz’s Forever and a Day and Kate Mosse’s The Burning Chambers, all of which are in the bestseller lists.
Authors are furious. Philip Pullman, who found 14 of his titles on the site, sent OceanPDF a tweet 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.” Fellow author Maz Evans said: “@oceanofPDF – my publisher’s lawyers are on the case. Good luck with that”.
The site is six months old but came to the attention of authors after writer Michelle Harrison found out about it via a Google alert.
“I found a Google alert in my emails late Friday evening informing me of a free download of Unrest, so I followed the link to check it out. I get lots of alerts about this particular book of mine so that in itself wasn’t surprising. However when I followed it I was horrified to be able to download the book for myself in a matter of seconds.”
Martin Reed from the Society of Authors said there was “no justification” forOceanofPDF’s behaviour. The society is encouraging authors to complain directly to Twitter and GoDaddy, which hosts the OceanofPDF website, and to report the website to their publishers.
Stephen Lotinga, Chief Executive of the UK Publishers Association, urged the government to do more to support copyright holders in enforcing their rights.
“The Publishers Association has been actively supporting publishers to issue take down notices through our Copyright Infringement Portal to remove infringing books,” he said. “We are also employing other approaches to tackling infringement such as supporting educational initiatives, site blocking and working with the police to cut off the revenue to such sites.”
But Oceanof PDF is adamant at the moment. Its MD Nicholas Liam said he wants to keep the site running as long as possible.
On its mission statement, after explaining how easy their free e-book downloads are, it says: ‘If you get [the] financial means later to buy the book, then you must support your favourite authors and buy that book’. Observers have pointed out that this is a whole new concept in bookbuying: steal first, pay later.