I do a lot of researching. Yesterday I was researching dieting plans for one of my blogs, and landed at Scribd. In order to download the document, I was asked to upload a document of my own, or pay a fee.
WTF? OK… I uploaded a document I wanted to share, downloaded the material I wanted to read later, and forgot all about it.
Today, I wondered what had happened with Scribd — why are they charging for content, and when did this start?
I entered “scribd charging for content” into Google, and landed on Lynn Viehl’s site. In her article Scribd.com Gets Greedy, she says:
“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.)”
Cue loud swearing. (Expletives deleted.)
Back to Google, where I found this article, If You Don’t Own It, You Will Lose It | Mike Cane’s iPad Test which makes this vital point:
“When money enters into the equation on the Internet, you’d better know what you’re getting into. Seeing the phrase “in perpetuity” is a Red Alert signal. There is no justification for that, ever. All clauses should be for the life of the contract, period.”
I’ve been using Scribd for years. It’s not a major part of my marketing plans, and I couldn’t care less how they make their money.
After reflection, it stands to reason that they’d charge for the free content which people have uploaded, sooner or later. From Google on down, thousands of sites make money on the back of others’ content. It just annoys me that I’ve learned about it a year or so after the fact.
Couldn’t they send out an email message announcing the change? In fairness, maybe they did, and I missed it…
So, surrender in my case. I’m not losing anything. Lynn obviously was losing, and she’s taken steps.
If you use Scribd, I suggest you check out their Terms of Service and decide whether or not their charging for your content bothers you.
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