Harry Potter author is among writers shocked to discover their books available as free downloads
Neil Blair, Rowling's lawyer, said the Harry Potter downloads were "unauthorised and unlawful" and that the website had been asked to take them down. "We are aware of this and we've asked them to take them off," he said. "They are quite helpful and they act immediately, but they won't police it themselves."
Rowling's novels aren't the only ones to be available from Scribd. A quick search throws up novels from Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan, Jeffrey Archer, Ken Follett, Philippa Gregory, and JRR Tolkien.
"We are monitoring this and are concerned about it," said Mark Le Fanu, general secretary of the Society of Authors. "Internet piracy is increasing," he continued, advising authors to monitor sites such as Scribd.
"Scribd.com were very courteous and immediately took it down, but since then it's gone up again," he said. "It's very annoying … I'm a writer and I write for a living, I don't want to have to do this."
According to Priest the threat to copyright extends beyond the loss of a few sales. In a letter to writers' magazine The Author he suggested that the threat is "not going to go away and it becomes a greater threat with every passing week ... Pretending it doesn't matter is not in my view an option," he continued. "A few downloads here or there are not going to make a measurable difference to book sales, but treating the text as something that is available to be used or adapted in some unspecified way is a different matter."
Adiga's publisher, Toby Mundy at Atlantic Books, said that Adiga's publishers around the world would be taking action. "We're in the copyright business," he said. "We can't be complacent about this."
Priest agreed. "The music industry has been practically ruined by this. The film industry is fighting hard and it's got lots of money. The book industry is the poorest of the lot – we are vulnerable."