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Is Scribd pirating your uploaded content?

September 1st, 2010 by · 3 Comments · opinion

I’m not talking about users; I’m talking about the company. I was just sent a link to this post through Twitter. Lynn Viehl, author of books such as Frostfire, had uploaded some of her older works to Scribd so everyone could read it for free. Much to her surprise, Scribd then started charging people to download it. Here’s the kicker: Scribd aren’t paying her anything.

It’s been brought to my attention that Scribd.com has begun charging people to download my free e-books hosted on their site. To get around my copyright and the free distribution notice I’ve placed in each e-book, they are using an archive subscription scam to make their money (this also neatly avoids them having to pay me any royalties on the profits they make.) Evidently all the money they’ve been raking in from the Google ads they’ve posted on my e-book pages hasn’t been enough for them.

I find the situation particularly ironic, as anyone can bootleg my work on the internet with no problem, yet when I try to give it away for free, greedy people still try to make a buck off it. Writers just can’t win.

If you’re going to argue that it’s technically not piracy, you’re right. But it’s still a shitty thing for Scribd to do to their members.

Update: Scribd have updated the account options page to include a check box so you can opt-out of  the archive. They need to find a better solution; opt-out check boxes are sleazy.

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