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I recently planned to buy one of the book from Microsoft Press Store online.

But browsing through one of the technical blog, I found the blog author providing link to download the same eBook for free.

I can also see some GitHub repositories have programming eBooks for free.

Is it legal to download the eBooks or can I just view them online ?

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    Is the GitHub user the copyright holder? – mikeazo Dec 11 '17 at 15:41
  • @mikeazo I can see many git hub users are not the copyright author of many books, One user says REPRODUCTION OF THE DOCUMENTS IS AUTHORIZED ONLY FOR INFORMATIVE PURPOSES AND STRICTLY FOR PERSONAL, PRIVATE USE. IF YOU ARE AN AUTHOR OF SOME OF THE BOOKS AND YOU DON'T AGREE WITH PUBLIC ACCESS OF YOUR BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME hismail@gmail.com AND I WILL REMOVE THE BOOKS FROM THE REPOSITORY. Now Can I download for private use? – stom Dec 12 '17 at 5:13
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    @stom I'm guessing the Github user would only have written that "disclaimer" if he didn't have permission to distribute the book. If he doesn't have permission, then he is distributing it illegally. If you want legal channels, go to official channels or to the author's blog for free versions, if available, as suggested in the answer. – Brandin Dec 12 '17 at 7:08
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If the blog author holds the copyright on the ebook, they can distribute the ebook anyway they choose, either via download from Github or elsewhere, or sell it in an online store. They hold the copyright, they alone can decide how to distribute it. If they also sell the ebook in the Microsoft press Store, they may have an agreement with the store to also allow their own free downloads; it's hard to say without knowing the agreement.

If there are ebooks on Githb available for viewing or download, the owner of the Github page should hold copyright of the ebook, both 1) for their own protection against copyright infringement, and 2) to not break GitHub's TOS against copright infringement: https://help.github.com/articles/github-terms-of-service/#f-copyright-infringement-and-dmca-policy

  • One of the user of git hub repository says : REPRODUCTION OF THE DOCUMENTS IS AUTHORIZED ONLY FOR INFORMATIVE PURPOSES AND STRICTLY FOR PERSONAL, PRIVATE USE. IF YOU ARE AN AUTHOR OF SOME OF THE BOOKS AND YOU DON'T AGREE WITH PUBLIC ACCESS OF YOUR BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME hismail@gmail.com AND I WILL REMOVE THE BOOKS FROM THE REPOSITORY. I can see he is not the copyright author of many books, Now Can I download for private use ? – stom Dec 12 '17 at 5:06
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    Holding the copyright is not necessary to post on Github. The content must have an appropriate license, however, e.g. open source, Creative Commons, etc. That's the intended purpose of Github. Of course, some Github users abuse it. – Brandin Dec 12 '17 at 7:15
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    @stom "I can see he is not the copyright author of many books, Now Can I download for private use?" No. You will be infringing on the copyright of the authors of the ebooks. The Github account holder is infringing on copyright by posting the books for download; his "disclaimer" about the authors of the books emailing him to request removal means nothing in a legal sense. The copyright holders should contact GitHub itself with a DMCA takedown notice. – BlueDogRanch Dec 12 '17 at 15:48
  • Downloading would be infringement, but I don't believe it's on the downloader's part. The person distributing the book is the one committing a crime. – Ask About Monica Dec 12 '17 at 18:15
  • @kbelder: that's why I wrote "The Github account holder is infringing on copyright by posting the books for download" – BlueDogRanch Dec 12 '17 at 18:45

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