File Sharing How-To (old)

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The mission of Project Gutenberg is to put the world’s great literature on the hard drives and in the CD collection of as many people as possible at little or no cost. We encourage all methods for distribution of our eBooks:

A relatively new way of sharing files is on peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing networks. Project Gutenberg encourages the use of P2P for sharing its eBooks. All Project Gutenberg eBooks may be freely shared, printed, and modified, within the limitations of the “small print” trademark license in each eBook. Although Project Gutenberg has several hundred copyrighted eBooks, they too may be shared for non-commercial purposes (though not modified or resold without permission).

In early 2004, Project Gutenberg added a Magnetlink download option to search results pages (we call them “BIBREC” pages, as contraction of “BIBliographic RECord”). You can search via the Search Page. Magnetlinks is an open standard for peer to peer file sharing. More information is available at After adding a Magnetlink plugin to your Web browser, a Magnetlink will automatically search on peer to peer networks you are connected to, and offer to download there.

The Magnetlinks include a user-friendly filename (such as “Alice in Wonderland alice30.txt” rather than just “alice30.txt”). This will help to make the eBook easier to find, and easier to share. If the file is not found on a peer to peer network, it will “fall back” to download via one of the Project Gutenberg Web servers.

Most of the Project Gutenberg files are already available on one or more file sharing networks. This is a perfectly legal and fully permissable use of this new technology. Whether you use P2P software or some other means, consider sharing a Project Gutenberg eBook today!

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