News

#cc10 Featured Platform: Scribd

Elliot Harmon, December 6th, 2012

In celebration of Creative Commons’ tenth anniversary, we’re writing about various platforms that host CC-licensed content. Today, we’re featuring document-sharing site Scribd.

Most people reading this are probably quite familiar with Scribd. It’s an easy, reliable place to publish documents and presentations. A lot of professional publishers use it, including our friends at Pratham Books. One thing that’s neat about Scribd is its embed feature: you can insert documents into a website, just like YouTube videos or Flickr photos.

I asked Scribd content and community manager Taylor Pipes to recommend a few of his favorite CC-licensed works on Scribd, and I also asked him a few questions.

Street Photography an eBook by Alex Coghe

How much of the content on Scribd is CC-licensed? Has that number stayed constant or changed since you implemented CC licensing?

Most of the content published on Scribd is CC-licensed, as we encourage authors to use CC licenses when possible. We’ve seen the number of CC-licensed works on Scribd grow by over 100% year over year. While our library encompasses over 25 million documents, 20 million of them have been uploaded utilizing the Creative Commons license.

Have there been any unexpected results to CC licensing on Scribd? People reusing each other’s documents in surprising or unusual ways?

Probably the most powerful result of CC licensing has been the proliferation of embedded Scribd documents around the web. We have more than 10 million Scribd document embeds now, and many of those are from bloggers or other independent writers. Because of Creative Commons licenses, these bloggers are able to integrate the content of these works on Scribd into their own writing.

Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig

Since Scribd launched, have your community’s attitudes toward sharing changed?

We’ve definitely seen an increase in user understanding and awareness of the sharing now possible with social media. Authors have realized that allowing users to remix and re-publish their content is a great way to help their content go viral and get distribution around the web. We are in an entirely different place with publishing, which is truly astonishing. The amount of change and disruption that has occurred in the last few years is a testament to the radical innovation stemming from mobile. We feel quite strongly that our work, especially with CC-documents and publications, is helping to write a new chapter in publishing.

Taylor’s favorite CC-licensed works on Scribd

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