(CN) – A children’s book author claims that Sacramento-based Scribd violates copyright “on a global scale” and “shamelessly profits from the stolen copyrighted works of innumerable authors.” Elaine Scott says, “Scribd, in fact, takes the basic model one step further, and both (a) creates a system whereby any user in the world can upload copyrighted works without permission; and (b) having created a vast new potential for theft of copyrighted works, Scribd without permission misappropriates copyrighted works for its copyright protection system.”
In her complaint in Houston Federal Court, Scott says that without her knowledge or permission, Scribd posted her 1984 book on its Website, from which it has been downloaded more than 100 times.
She claims “Scribd is building two profitable businesses on a foundation of enterprise-wide copyright infringement – a Web site that provides storage, searching, and retrieval of documents, and a copyright protection fed by stolen works that is used to identify and prevent the uploading of unlicensed copyrighted works. The value of the copyright protection may someday exceed – or already has – the value of the document storage and retrieval system, especially if it were illegal to operate a Scribd-type business unless the business also implemented a copyright filter.”
Scott says she is “a successful children’s book author and victim of the Scribd enterprise.”
She wrote “Stock and bond: Profits and losses: a quick look at financial markets” in 1984, and it was published and copyrighted in 1985. When she found out in July that Scribd had posted her entire book, and that it had been downloaded without license more than 100 times, she says, she demanded that Scribd take it down and she sued.
“As an author and lecturer, Ms. Scott regularly addresses the issues of plagiarism and the rights of authors,” she says in her federal complaint. She says that “Other authors have also voiced their concerns about the mass appropriation and publication model promoted by Scribd.”
Scott particularly objects to “iPaper, a proprietary format created by Scribe. When documents are uploaded to Scribd, they are converted into a special data format known as iPaper. Regardless of what format a document is in when it is uploaded, it is thereafter available in the iPaper format to any browser using the iPaper viewer [which is] built with the Adobe Flash technology available in most Web browser software.”
On its Web site, Scribd calls itself a “social publishing company,” in fact, “the largest social publishing company in the world.” It claims that “more than 60 million people each moth discover and share original writings and documents” on its site.
“Scribd’s vision is to liberate the written word – to turn everyone into a publisher,” its Web site proclaims.
Scott says that’s ridiculous, and illegal. She claims the West Coast technology industry has become a global leader in “self-promoting misinterpretations of federal statutes … premised on the notion that commercial copyright infringement is not illegal unless and until the injured party discovers and complains of the infringing activity … Apparently, they believe any business may misappropriate and then publish intellectual property as long as it ceases to use a stolen work when an author complains. Many millions of dollars have been invested in this business plan.
“Scribd Inc. is one such egregious infringer.”
Scott says Scribd CEO Trip Adler has given numerous interviews in which he promotes “Scribd’s illegal activity.” She cites his statement: “All the documents out there on the Web right now are not being monetized, and we’d like to change that.”
Scott demands declaratory judgment, an injunction, disgorgement, statutory damages and costs. She is represented by K.A.D. Camara with Camara & Sibley of Houston.