There are some ebooks that are readily available as PDF, and can be downloaded from multiple sources. For example, "Effective Java" by Joshua Bloch can be found easily on the web. There are even repositories on Github containing multiple ebooks on programming.

In "Effective Java" the following paragraph can be found:

All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. This publication is protected by copyright, and permission must be obtained from the publisher prior to any prohibited reproduction, storage in a retrieval system, or transmission in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or likewise. For information regarding permissions, write to: (...)

Why is it so easy to find these PDF versions, and why is no action being taken here?

  • 1
    Presumably you'd have to ask the copyright holder or host whether permission was given, and if not, ask the copyright holder why he isn't taking action against that infringement. – feetwet Oct 15 '15 at 20:43

There are any number of reasons, but they'll probably fall into one of the following.

Permission was given

The site hosting the file has been given permission by the Copyright Holder. Permission is a defense to copyright infringement.

The Copyright Holder is unaware

The Copyright Holder is unaware that their Work is being infringed. Third parties have no general obligation to make the Copyright Holder aware of infringements, except where required by law.

The Copyright Holder has decided not to pursue action

The Copyright Holder has made the decision not to pursue legal action for any number of reasons, for example reputational damage or the costs of proceedings.

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  • Seems reasonable. If #1 is the case, am I generally allowed to link to such files (since I don't explicitely have the permission), or is it just wisely to refrain from it? – nhaarman Oct 16 '15 at 6:24
  • 2
    You should generally not encounter issues with linking to copyrighted files as per law.stackexchange.com/q/4360/58 – jimsug Oct 16 '15 at 13:22

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