[cc-community] Scribd and CC licensing

Alek Tarkowski alek at creativecommons.pl
Fri Dec 17 07:53:13 EST 2010

Hi everyone,

There's a strange situation right now with the way Scribd makes works
available, that I think highlights a broader problem with CC works and
Web 2.0 sites.

First of all, Scribd seems to allow CC-licensing - there's such an
option in advanced settings for a given uploaded file. But there's no
licensing information displayed on the site when the same work is
presented, and weirdly enough I cannot find any relevant information
through a search engine.

Secondly, Scribd has recently introduced a strange payment model: you
can watch online for free, but you have to pay to download.

Finally, Scribd has a Terms of Use page where it states that by
uploading content I grant them rights to use it.

So here's the problem as I see it:

1. If I upload a work made by someone else, licensed under a NC license
(maybe others as well), then through the Terms of Use I grant Scribd
rights that I do not have. So I shouldn't upload such works - but it
seems that it's a natural thing today to publish content through Web 2.0
sites, and few people will think that there are string attached that
might violate the license.

2. This becomes even more pronounced with the new payment mechanism -
Scribd is making money from content (either my own or of a third party)
licensed with a NC license. This is especially confusing for works that
are marked as NC through their own license marking mechanism. In
general, it seems the Terms of use are in conflict with the licensing
mechanism they offer, in case of works with a NC, ND or SA condition (it
seems that a simple CC BY might be compatible with these terms, but IANAL)

please correct me if I'm wrong, and if not, then I think there are
grounds for a CC / Web2.0 services compatibility study.


Alek Tarkowski

dr Alek Tarkowski
koordynator / public lead
Creative Commons Polska / Poland
www: http://creativecommons.pl
identica: http://identi.ca/alek
twitter: http://twitter.com/atarkowski

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