A kind of YouTube for e-books, Scribd lets you view documents online and share your own documents with the world.
The site makes getting content very easy, and like a fast food hamburger, you can get it the way you want. It lets you upload a Word document and download it as html or PDF or text. You can even use a text-to-speech tool to create an audio file, so you can download it to an iPod.
Besides the “sharing” feature of YouTube, Scribd has also borrowed the social networking angle of Digg.com. Visitors can vote for their favorite items, and they move up the list of popular documents.
This thing is seriously cool, a great way to find and share information. I'm concerned that copyright violations could cause it trouble (witness YouTube), but I suspect Scribd will be with us for a long time to come.
Hard to believe, but a Web site that makes copyright infringement easy has received $300,000 in venture backing and hired the same law firm used by YouTube.
The site says, "Scribd is for noncommercial sharing of personal documents only," But in the three weeks it's been live, Scribed has received about two dozen "take down notices" related to copyrighted material that's been uploaded. For instance, it's simple to find a PDF of Thomas Friedman's best seller. There's more coming, for sure.
No wonder these guys have retained the Wilson, Sonsini law firm. If Scribd catches on, there's work there for decades.