In If You Don’t Own It, You Will Lose It, I said:
All of you writers placing things on Scribd, the Kindle Store, Smashwords, and the like — did you check the contracts/Terms of Service you were signing/agreed to? If one of you hit it big, what exploitation rights did you wind up giving away that would let a third party cash in on your new popularity when you’d rather not have them do so?
Today I happened to go to Scribd — which is supposed to pull the switch on a big change sometime today — and looked at the Terms of Service.
Oh yeah, there’s a Gotcha! in it.
So, Scribd signs an agreement that, for example, lets Amazon also distribute all of the Scribd content to owners of the abominable Kindle. This would be a sub-license. But you hate Amazon, you hate the Kindle, so you pull your stuff off Scribd in protest.
Too late, sucker. Amazon has been granted the right to still use your stuff.
And if you think not, they repeat:
From the point of view of Scribd, these clauses make perfect sense. It makes life easier for them. They don’t have to send out an opt-in/out email to everyone every time they sign up a sub-licensee. They don’t have to modify their database for those who opt-in/out. That’s less work for them.
But as a creator, you shouldn’t give a shit about what makes life easier for Scribd.
Your only interest is what is best for you.
Know what you are giving away when you use these services!