Last updated: October 1, 2009 - 8:26am
Last month, author Elaine Scott filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming copyright infringement against Scribd.com, a Web site that allows people to publish their own books and documents online and share them with others. A user of the site had posted without Scott's permission a copy of one of her books, a Wall Street explainer entitled "Stocks and Bonds, Profits and Losses." Scribd removed the book from its site after being notified by Scott, but the author claims the site didn't do enough to protect her copyright in the first place. Courts have ruled several times -- including as recently as last month in a case against video company Veoh Networks Inc. -- that Web sites can't be held accountable when users post stolen material. But a second claim in Scott's suit introduces a new wrinkle into the discussion. Scribd created filtering software to prevent books it knows are stolen from being posted again. Every time an author asks Scribd to remove copyrighted work, the company automatically adds that work to its filter. Scott claims that Scribd doesn't have the right to use her book in its filter -- even if it claims to be doing so to protect her interests.
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