As you know, I totally rate and support TUEBL - but people often ask me about the legalities of such a sharing site (I much prefer the term LIBRARY). Following is a short explanation from Cheapass Fiction, the new official blog of TUEBL.
Is TUEBL legal?
It’s a common question about our friendly neighborhood ebook library. And fair enough. If something is awesome enough, there’s probably a law against it.
So let’s answer it once and for all with a resounding YES.
Under the current admins, TUEBL has always had a DMCA takedown process, which means it falls solidly into DMCA Safe Haven territory, just like YouTube or Google. In fact, TUEBL’s takedown process is morestringent than YouTube’s or Google’s! Every book page on TUEBL has a clearly-displayed DMCA button that an author can use should they object to their book’s presence in the library. The DMCA button takes the author to a form asking for basic information. (This provides a layer of accountability and helps to prevent abuse of the system.) Then, with that one step completed, the book is gone.
DMCA Safe Haven allowances for sites and service providers have been upheld over and over and over in U.S courts. As long as YouTube, Google, and every one else that simply carries user-submitted material is legal, then TUEBL is legal.
Of course, TUEBL supports the free sharing of books. Libraries are, after all, essential to both individuals’ and civilizations’ development. Libraries mustsurvive. But survival means playing by the rules – even as you try to change them.