Scribd targeted over pirate content, UK press over-dramatizes the story

Document hosting and sharing service Scribd is in the spotlight for pirated content uploaded by its users. Books uploaded to the site include works from J. K. Rowling and Ken Follett.

Scribd, like YouTube is an open platform, and content does get uploaded that doesn’t conform to copyright laws. But The Times on the other hand has gone for extra drama

Publishers and agents representing the authors J. K. Rowling and Ken Follett were battling last night to get free copies of their novels removed from a Californian website that claims to be the most popular literary site in the world.

Note where the site is hosted: California, so Scribd is bound by US copyright law. US copyright law allows for a notice to be lodged that hosts are forced to comply with (DMCA notices). It takes me about 90 seconds to cut and paste the bits into a standard DMCA notice and send it off, it’s not even close to a “battle,” but that doesn’t make for good print, does it.

A search of Scribd by The Times yesterday found copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Ken Follett’s most recent novel World without End among many bestselling titles, raising fears that the piracy affecting the music industry may have spread to books.

Actually, you’ve been able to get your hands on this stuff since the early days of the internet, and the book industry is still alive and well. The difference here is that people like the physical format of a book, and until e-readers become more common, they aren’t about to start rampantly pirating books, at least no more than now or last year or the year before it. Music was a case of substitution: you can get the same results without a physical format. Books are by nature physical items.

Peter Cox, a literary agent and editor of the Litopia blog, said: “These people are pirates. We don’t have to give in to this. We can’t afford to make the same mistakes the music industry did.”

So they’re going to sue harder? rofl. attracts 55 million visitors a month, many drawn by the chance to download versions of books by popular authors that have been uploaded on to the website without the consent of the writer or publisher.

Actually, Scribd is the most popular solution for embedding documents, which gets thrown in towards the end “Scribd has many legitimate uses.”

Drama. Scribd also responds to The Times here.