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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Free Chess Book Downloads – Danger!

      Some sites like 4Shared have cracked down on downloads of chess (actually, all) books and other material.   In the past you could search for copies of scanned chess books and download them in pdf or djvu format...illegal, of course.  4shared is a site where you can store files like an extra hard drive, but you can also provide a link that allows anyone to download one of your files if you so desire and people were making illegal scanned copies of chess books available. I was threatened by them for offering a booklet for download that I authored myself.  My reply to them was unanswered and I discontinued using them due to their lack of response. See Blog article.
      In any case you need to be very careful about downloading books, music and movies!   A large proportion of internet users, including chess players looking for free chess books, regularly download content. Popular downloads range from documents to films, games to mp3s, and a whole host of different applications.
      Download sites, especially those that operate on a peer-to-peer basis, have often been plagued with files infected with spyware, adware, viruses, you name it.  I recently read that some sources have been offering downloads of popular commercial chess engines.  In some cases these engines are freeware engines that have simply been renamed to a popular commercial engine then jammed packed with who knows what.  According to Torrent Freak: "A man and woman from New York have been ordered to pay $7000 in damages for downloading a 'For Dummies' eBook using Bit Torrent..."  Read article.  I don't know about you but I don't have $7000 to pay for a chess book.

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