The French digital book watchdog Groupement pour le Développement du Livre Numérique (GLN) has identified at least 20 French publishers whose books are being offered to Scribd subscribers without the agreement of the authors or publishers, according to GLN media spokesperson Elizabeth Sutton.
“We have monitored about 100 titles, including at least 40 best-sellers,” she told The Bookseller. One of them is ex-first lady Valérié Trierweiller’s Thank you for this Moment, which was published by Les Arènes. So far GLN has named only two publishers, Albin Michel and Bragelonne, because they are the only ones that GLN has contacted for the moment.
“It is a growing problem,” said Agnès Fruman, secretary-general of Albin Michel. “We react as fast as possible by cutting the links to the sites concerned or withdrawing the titles. There has been a particularly sharp increase in the number of sites offering books free of charge since the summer break.”
Scribd has contracts with a few small French publishers, but not with any of the major houses, said Sutton, who is a digital book consultant to publishers and created her digital book news and retail site IDBOOX four years ago.
The US platform has been available in France for about two years, and has generated considerable traffic since last January through Apple’s Appstore, internet and Google Play, GLN said in a statement. “The number of pirated books increases every day,” it added.
The app has ranked at least 5th in iTunes France since the beginning of the year, and came second only to Kindle yesterday. Scribd “clearly aims to become the Netflix of digital books,” she added on the IDBOOX site.
In a statement, Scribd c.e.o. Trip Adler responded: "Scribd takes piracy very seriously and we're continuously working to ensure only quality, authorized content is being uploaded. As with any user-generated content platform, users can break the rules and upload materials they do not have the right to share, but Scribd expressly and actively prohibits such activity.
"Our proprietary Book ID copyright protection system works by analyzing documents for semantic data, meta data, images, and other elements and creates an encoded 'fingerprint' of the copyrighted work. If an author or publisher believes there is unauthorized use of their content, they should request removal of infringements through DMCA notification by completing this simple online form at http://scribd.com/report and Scribd will respond within two business days to valid DMCA notifications. Scribd's Copyright Resource Center also provides publishers authors and users with valuable information on acceptable user behavior, copyright protection and Book ID."