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Téma: Novels author turns detective to fight free downloads

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    Novels author turns detective to fight free downloads

    An author of teenage romance novels and her computer-expert husband believe that they have tracked down the man responsible for one of the world’s largest sources of pirated books.

    Regan Smith, who writes under the name Regan Ure, is attempting to have 11 of her books removed from Oceanofpdf.com, a website that illegally offers almost 42,000 books free to download. Among the 8,800 authors affected are JK Rowling and Stephen King.

    When Ms Smith and Quintin-John Smith made a copyright complaint to Domains by Proxy, a company that allows people to register websites anonymously, it refused to block the domain but passed on the details of the registrant as George Colburn of Roseburg, Oregon.

    When The Times telephoned the number provided, the man who answered refused to give his name, denied that he was Mr Colburn or had any knowledge of Oceanofpdf. When asked if he was Mr Colburn, he responded: “Who is this?” Asked if he was the registrant, he said: “No I’m not. I don’t have anything to do with it. I have no idea.”

    Ms Smith believes that the name is likely to be accurate. “The fact that he’s tried so hard to mask his details tells me that it is him. If it’s not his true identity then why bother trying to hide it [through Domains by Proxy]?”

    Domains by Proxy is part of the web hosting service GoDaddy. The general manager who provided Mr Colburn’s name did not respond to a request for comment about whether the company had verified his details.

    Ms Smith said that Domains by Proxy refused to block the domain. “They say, ‘We don’t hold the content. You have to go to the content provider.’ ”

    The person who operates Oceanofpdf, named on the site as Nicholas Liam, has also registered the site as Xeann.com. This domain is registered with Cloudflare, a company that allows customers to register sites without revealing their identity. When Ms Smith complained to Cloudflare, it passed on an email address that did not work. She said: “They can disable the domain but it’s almost like it’s too hard work. As soon as copyright infringement comes up they’re not interested. There has to be a procedure because this is happening more and more often.”

    Mr Smith has reported Mr Colburn to the FBI but was told that he should get a lawyer to obtain a court order at the High Court.

    Lawyers for Penguin Random House, the publisher for many authors whose works are on the site, have issued “a significant number of takedown notices” but the website is still operational two weeks later.

    Oceanofpdf did not respond to an email from The Times but states on its website: “We believe that knowledge and information should be free and accessible to everyone around the globe.”

    A spokesman for the website told The Bookseller magazine that he intended to “keep it active as long as we can”.

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