Friday, February 17, 2012

Pitfalls of Download Scam Sites

A recent article published by the Iowa State Daily draws attention to rogue download sites masquerading as helpful services.  "Touch Textbooks", they say, is actually an off-shore site that makes its money off of the $49 sign up fee they charge students for unlimited access to their catalog.

"The site is self-proclaimed 'verified by Visa' and 'safe and secure.'
There are even reviews listed on blogs and other consumer websites
claiming the legitimacy of Touch Textbooks, but do not be fooled."

What's wrong with this picture?  While the service seems attractive to students used to paying hundreds of dollars for college textbooks, the site actually contains PDF versions of far fewer than the millions of e-books they proclaim, and none of the publishers (much less the authors) receive any compensation for the revenue it generates.

A quick Google search brings up many forum posts touting this site:  Some of these posts have received quick replies, such as:

"Since college text books are copyrighted material, there is no way the copyright holder is going to allow them to be downloaded for free. If someone is indeed downloading text books, it's because they're pirating them. In other words, it's illegal. My advice; don't do it."

How is Bitmenu different?  Our publishers must identify themselves and be subject to take-down requests.  Our Terms of Use, which each Bitmenu Seller must approve, explicitly states that each Seller must have the rights to distribute the works they upload into the Bitmenu System.  Furthermore, when a buyer purchases through the system, the purchase they confirm at either PayPal or Amazon Payments goes directly to that Seller's account.  A copyright holder that believes some material used by a publisher in the Bitmenu system infringes on their copyrights is directed to our DMCA policy and can also claim fraud with the payment processor.