Developer Makes Available 390,000 ‘Pirated’ eBooks Accidentally

Written by Nitish Singh
Published on May 9, 2018

Developer Nick Janetakis forgot about an old DNS setting which made 390,000 eBooks available illegally. The developer failed to delete the DigitalOcean droplet he created after it had expired and unknown persons managed to download the hundreds and thousands of eBooks for free.

The developer claims that he created the droplet two years ago when creating a video course dealing with HTTPS setup on a domain name. In all of his courses, he made sure that people could see the process from start to end. He used the domain for his courses.

Eventually, Nick set up a record to point to a DigitalOcean droplet. The droplet was a cloud server anyone with a link could get access to via his sub-domain. All Nick needed to do after the droplet expired was to delete the ‘A record’ to make sure he was not pointing to someone else’s IP address once the droplet was allocated to someone else.

Nick had a Google Alerts set up which allowed him to receive emails whenever people linked to his website, says TorrentFreak. A few months ago, he started receiving a ton of notifications, but he kept ignoring them assuming it is just a bug. Once a subscriber to his course notified him that his website might have been compromised, he was shocked to find out hundreds and thousands of eBooks were being downloaded from his domain illegally.

The earliest complaint was filed with Google on April 22, 2018, suggesting that the IP address/domain name was distributing pirated eBooks. Nick asked for the IP address of the user who was distributing the books but was denied by DigitalOcean. Copyright holders are becoming suspicious of the website and have sent numerous complaints to Google for the site's piracy-related activities.

Nick’s domain is no longer connected following the complaints which save him further trouble. Nick recently posted some helpful tips on how to avoid such situations in the future.

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