A Problem with DMCA and Reporting

So, I was looking for some good resources to bring up one of my new engineers on microservices in Go using Kubernetes. So, I naturally Googled around and found an interesting Github repository. It had a list of books that were useful for a wide variety of tasks, such as React, Node, Go, DevOps, and more.

Cool, I thought. This must be something like “Awesome Go” or “Awesome React” style repositories, where there is a list and perhaps a link to purchase the books. So what if the Github repo owner had an affiliate link or something. It looked like a nice list.

Then I noticed the links all ended with .pdf. Ok, maybe it is a link to an electronic purchase or something? But no, the links were directly to the books in the subfolders in the repo. Completely pirated. What’s worse? 1045 stars. 3 contributors.

No, I will not post a screen shot of the repo or a link to the repo. Piracy is bad, mmkay?

So obviously we are dealing with someone uploading pirated books. Well, time to do the good-citizen thing of reporting it to Github. So I look around and don’t see any Report button on the repo site. I could star or watch, but not report. Fine, I will contact Github.

So I contacted Github. Their DMCA notice required me to be the copyright holder. I am not, so that wouldn’t work. I also wasn’t going to file a counter-notice, so I guess I would contact them about abuse. I sent them a quick email. I explained I found the repo while searching for some resources and it was obviously pirated. I provided a link to the repository. I thought that all would be well, I had done the right thing and reported it.

About 15 minutes later, I got an email back from Github:

So, it looks like I would have to find the publisher of every single PDF in the repo, contact them, and let them deal with it. Which I don’t have the time to do for hundreds of books. Besides, doing so would likely get me in trouble as I would have to download the book to make sure it was a valid violation.

So, what should happen here? On the one hand, I get that Github does not want to take down any repository just because some guy on the net reports it. However, this is obviously a violation. While we can have a debate about free flowing education, publisher rights vs consumer rights, piracy, and more, but in the current milieu, this is obviously an infraction. However, unless someone goes to each publisher and reports it, these files look like they will remain, if I understand the response.

In the meantime, these resources are still available.

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