Is Scribd pirating your uploaded content?

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 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.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Moriah Jovan1 September, 2010

    I bailed on Scribd a while back. I see nothing to recommend them on either a user or a reader side.

  2. […] Artículo en The Digital Reader […]

  3. […] of this late, so I don’t know the exact count.) This isn’t quite as bad as the time Scribd got caught pirating users’ uploaded content, but it’s still not […]

  4. jone2 July, 2015

    Im being charged by a company whose users uploaded a ton of engine manuals in a bait and switch type deal, they have basically coopted a lot of well meaning people into helping them steal copyrights…
    im looking at an engine manual for a SOFIM diesel 2445 8140.21 turbo diesel engine, parts are still available for it. but the page has only 13 views…
    Now want 9 pounds sterling for me to download it in a useable format?
    the sheer cheek of it… the uploader gets nothing, and im sure they wouldnt have uploaded if they realised it would be used to extort money…
    the publishers of the orgiinal manual and authors get nothing from this “sale”.
    Its the “come share and socialise with us – its FREE!- now you have shared your stuff? we are going to charge to “SHARE”…
    its a new form of sharing you see, its actually sales and thats your friends stuff they shared in goodwill that they are selling.
    Its effectively a business model known as coercion ,fraud or theft but these things dont seem to matter in this day an age..
    If anyone can post me alink to a downlaodable pdf of the mentioned manual i would be very grateful….ill just contact the user direct if slidesharescribdwhatever its called will let me..
    thinking about it , i can just set up a document company , pay scribd, steal all the content and start charging for access myslef.

  5. Sheogorath5 July, 2015

    Scribd needs to find a better solution; opt-out check boxes are sleazy.
    And shitty. Ask anyone with auto-updating apps from Google Play. Just sayin’.

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