Recently Smashwords joined up with Scribd. Scribd then offered all the Smashword authors a chance to get a year free subscription. As an avid reader I jumped at the opportunity. I could use it for leisure and homeschooling. I’d already considered joining Oyster when Smashwords worked their deal with them.
One of the first things I did was look up books on crochet that I don’t own but would like to read; Creepy Cute Crochet, Curvy Girl Crochet, along with a few others.
Then I noticed something odd. I found four copies of Creepy Cute; all of them scanned.
This made me nervous. Scans are a tricky business. You literally take a work and scan it then post it to a website. Some countries, authors, allow this others don’t. Not only did Scribd have four of them but they were all done differently; ranging from tiny text you had to zoom in on to improperly scanned pages that were shadowed.
To me this is a copyright infringement; and if you ever see any of my books presented in such a way inform me immediately. I had seen an issue of Curvy Girl done is such a way on Issuu but I was surprised by Scribd. It states it takes copyright seriously … but yet it has four copies of Creepy Cute.
Their site claims that members can upload their own works and public domain items. Yet Creepy Cute isn’t public domain it’s published by Quirk Books. No one involved with it’s production is getting royalties for the four copies Scribd is allowing.
I ended up email them about it. I had seen full issues of Crochet Today! and Crochet! Magazine as well. I asked them how they monitor the issue. I was concerned that if they allow this to pass what else are they not monitoring.
It took me over twenty minutes to find a link to contact them about it. Oh, I found the link that I can complain if it’s MY work that’s been copyrighted. I couldn’t find however anything that allowed me to report scans.
A few days after I emailed them I got a response. I really wish I had saved it but I deleted it I was so disgusted. It basically said that if my work had been copyrighted file this complaint form (keeping in mind they’re using US copyright laws and the laws of my country might differ). If however I found anyone else’s work copyrighted kindly go away.
Go away. They didn’t want to hear it unless it was from an angry author. In my opinion scans should never be allowed without an author or publishers permission. Case in point Ruiko Takahasi allowed scanlations for many years before changing her mind.
Scans prevent royalties from being generated to both the author and publisher. In some cases this is allowed in the hope that it increases recognition and sales in other areas. But how does Scribd know who allows it and who does it? Are they and those like them hiding behind a ‘we didn’t publish it a member did’ mentality?
I can assure you that I’d sue not only the person who illegally published my work but also the site that allowed it. Sites like Fanfiction.net keep track of what authors allow fanfiction and promptly remove any fanfiction that violates that. Does Scribd and Issuu do the same?
It seems like a risky business allowing any scans. I for one am wary and will be keeping a lookout for violations on my works. Other than that it seems that in this technological age there’s naught else you can do.