A lawsuit seeking class-action status was filed against document-sharing website Scribd last week. In the suit, author Elaine Scott claims that the site is guilty of copyright infringement and that the company is well aware that copyrighted works are available on the site and it's even profiting from it. Scribd has now responded to the lawsuit saying it's completely without merit and that the site is entirely covered by the DMCA's safe harbor provisions.
The lawyers representing Elaine Scott say Scribd has "built a technology that's broken barriers to copyright infringement on a global scale and in the process have also built one of the largest readerships in the world. [...] The company shamelessly profits from the stolen copyrighted works of innumerable authors." As a side note, the attorneys are actually Joe Sibley and Kiwi Camara, the same ones who represented Jamie Thomas-Rasset in her legal dispute with the RIAA, in which she was ordered to pay $1.92 million in damages for 24 songs.
Elaine Scott claims that she found her book "Stocks and Bonds: Profits and Losses, A Quick Look at Financial Markets" on the site and that it had been downloaded more than 100 times from Scribd. The site has a copyright-notice takedown procedure in place and authors can request a document to be removed if it infringes on their copyright. This, of course, is a standard procedure for many websites hosting user-generated content and has been established to be legal. The lawyers aren't satisfied, though, saying this is a crass misinterpretation of the law and that the company has built a business model around copyright infringement.
Scribd has responded in the usual fashion, saying that the suit is without merit and that it has taken all of the steps necessary to prevent copyrighted material from landing on the site and to remove it if it does. "Ms. Scott's lawsuit is without merit," Scribd tells Cnet in a statement. "Scribd is an online service provider that complies with – and goes above and beyond – the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Scribd therefore is entitled to the full protection of the DMCA's safe harbor provisions."