This is a part of a post from author Lynn Viehl’s Paperback Writer blog.. It deserves to be read in full, but I must point out that I can’t verify anything that it contains:
It’s been brought to my attention that 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.) 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 was not made aware of this new policy by Scribd at all; a reader kindly brought it to my attention. If you have free stories or documents hosted on this site, chances are they’re doing the same to you.
I immediately contacted Scribd.com and demanded an explanation, which they provided at their leisure. Basically they washed their hands of any liability and ethics by telling me it was my problem, not theirs. In order to prevent Scribd from further profiting from my free books, I have to remove each e-book individually from their archives (for instructions on how to do this, see Scribd’s instructions here.) As I discovered this morning this is going to take a considerable amount of time for me to accomplish, and it’s not a permanent solution; they tell me I’ll have to check the documents regularly to see to it that they aren’t arbitrarily returned to the archive, where Scribd can then again start charging people to download 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.
Thanks to Michael Pastore for the link.