Used book intellectual property issues


#1

I am a relatively new used book seller on Amazon. I am doing ok but have had a couple of IP issues where someone has complained about the books I am selling and say that it is infringing on international property. Amazon sends an alarming message saying they are investigating my account.

These are used books so clearly I don’t have the exact authorisation etc - how do you even get one? I have tried to argue with their compliance team saying that how can any used book like this have the authorisation or paperwork.

I have removed the listings for now and clearly I might be being dense here so any guidance or advice would be greatly appreciated as I don’t want to give up selling them.

Thanks


Received Intellectual Property Complaints
#2

Could you post the notice that Amazon actually sent you? Or let us know the ISBNs of the books they specified? This sounds most improbable.

Intellectual property rights cover only the publishing of copyrighted books - it does not affect the selling of them. Anyone can sell books. No licence or permission is required. It is thus very hard to believe that Amazon “investigated” your account on this basis. What was the result of the “investigation”?


#3

Well, not in the UK, anyway!


#4

Clearly the book seller is doing nothing illegal , this doesn’t matter a jot to Amazon who are a law unto themselves. We had a similar issue where a mentally ill artist decided that she had the intellectual property rights to her used, second hand records. Her claim would not stand in any court of Law but Amazon decided that her claim was valid and threatened to throw anyone selling her records off of Amazon…


#5

What is the title / bibliographic detail of the book they are complaining about. We’ve been selling used books for 25 years and have never had such a complaint!


#6

Are you sure that the email was definitely from Amazon and wasn’t a scam ?
I too am a bookseller and have never heard of anything like this happening before.


#7

Guessing you were " Shocked "

Mi guess is you were " chelle Shocked "

And yep, its outrageous Amazon tolerate this.


#8

Not a defence but an observation

A few of these seems to arise from books which are virtually self published. I guess that in a few of these cases that the author/ publisher doesn’t deal with the established book wholesalers at all and perhaps even turns all the online distribution over to Amazon themselves & perhaps also signs a deal with a single high street operator such as The Works.


#9

Quite, but that doesn’t give them any more control over the re-sale of their (secondhand) books than any other author/publisher. They have clearly misunderstood the copyright laws


#10

I suppose there are places where a licence is required. North Korea, maybe?

The only people who can make legitimate rights claims about books are other publishers or authors whose rights are at stake in the individual publication. But if either of these makes a legitimate complaint, Amazon simply removes the book from sale - it doesn’t write to the Marketplace sellers of the book and tell them that they are infringing on rights by selling.

I therefore don’t think the OP has much to worry about unless the copies he was selling were pirated. Once or twice in fifteen years we have received pirated books on Amazon, most probably sold innocently by sellers who listed them thinking they were genuine.


#11

Hi - here is the message I received from Amazon. I have taken out the name and email of the person that made the complaint as I am sure that Amazon would take a dim view of sharing them. Thanks for your help!

Hello,

We are contacting you because we received a report of copyright infringement from the rights owner listed below. Sellers on Amazon.co.uk are not allowed to create listings or detail pages that infringe copyright.

We removed the content listed at the end of this email. We may let you list this content again if we receive a retraction of the complaint from the rights owner. Their contact information can be found below.

If the rights owner agrees to retract their complaint, they must send the retraction to us at notice-dispute@amazon.co.uk.

If you believe that the reported content does not infringe the rights owner’s copyright, you may email notice-dispute@amazon.co.uk with supporting information.

We consider allegations of intellectual property infringement a serious matter and your account is under review. If we receive more complaints about your listings, we may not allow you to sell on Amazon.co.uk.

To learn more about this policy, search for “Intellectual Property Violations” in Seller Central Help.

ASIN: 0425201139
Title: Death in Hyde Park (Edwardian Mystery)


#12

Hi,

That’s what I thought - is there any documented evidence of this that I can send to them to show this?


#13

Hi all,

Hi - here is the message I received from Amazon. I have taken out the name and email of the person that made the complaint as I am sure that Amazon would take a dim view of sharing them. Thanks for your help!

Hello,

We are contacting you because we received a report of copyright infringement from the rights owner listed below. Sellers on Amazon.co.uk are not allowed to create listings or detail pages that infringe copyright.

We removed the content listed at the end of this email. We may let you list this content again if we receive a retraction of the complaint from the rights owner. Their contact information can be found below.

If the rights owner agrees to retract their complaint, they must send the retraction to us at notice-dispute@amazon.co.uk.

If you believe that the reported content does not infringe the rights owner’s copyright, you may email notice-dispute@amazon.co.uk with supporting information.

We consider allegations of intellectual property infringement a serious matter and your account is under review. If we receive more complaints about your listings, we may not allow you to sell on Amazon.co.uk.

To learn more about this policy, search for “Intellectual Property Violations” in Seller Central Help.

ASIN: 0425201139
Title: Death in Hyde Park (Edwardian Mystery)


#14

Bizarre. This book is available on numerous sites, including Amazon’s sites in the US, Germany, France and Canada. It is a paperback book. There is no copyright restriction on selling Used copies in the UK. If I had a copy, I would create a product page in the Amazon UK catalogue.

Paul


#15

I am guessing that this is exactly what happened (for the listing has been removed) after either the author or the publisher lodged a rights complaint. (I am assuming it was the author or the publisher, hard to see how it can be anyone else. World of Books sells this title on EBay but they would simply list it on Amazon too, they would not lodge this kind of complaint.)

Amazon will (understandably) err on the safe side when it receives this kind of complaint, though it should be challengeable. Simply writing to SS and pointing out that this is a book should do it. SS don’t seem very clued up on the fact that books and other items have a quite different legal context.


#16

The edition you are selling appears to be the American edition, so it’s remotely possible there might be a territorial rights issue. (Not that thousands of American editions are not already for sale on Amazon, and that the only rights issue worth mentioning would be that between the rights holder in the USA and the rights holder in the UK territories, not sellers.)

Did you create the listing for this book yourself or did it pre-exist your listing?

The British edition of the book can be found at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Death-Hyde-Park-Victorian-Mystery/dp/0857300318/ref=sr_1_15?keywords=robin+paige&qid=1561112071&s=books&sr=1-15.

Note the different ISBN, cover image and publisher. I presume it was either the British publisher or the author who made the complaint, and if you created the listing, that’s why you received the communication. There may be a strict territorial rights arrangement distinguishing sales in the two territories.

We are also a publisher and this issue can sometimes come up. For example, we have global rights in our books but sometimes sub-license these rights to particular territories. One of the books we publish is currently under a 5-year sub-licence in Malaysia and Australia, and those licences prohibit the publishers (who are allowed to print and sell their own copies in their own territory) from selling their edition of the book on any Amazon site that we sell it on. Anyone who wished to sell their edition of the book in the UK could likewise be contested and, if we discovered a listing of their edition on the Amazon UK site, we would challenge it.

I am only guessing, but this may be the problem here.


#17

It is an Edwardian Mystery showing on Amazon France…
https://www.amazon.fr/Death-Hyde-Park-Robin-Paige/dp/0425201139/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=9780425201138&qid=1561111862&s=books&sr=8-1


#18

The only copyright restriction that could apply to a US edition on the UK site would be for copies in New condition. Similar restrictions can apply to International copies of academic titles, eg ones printed in India or China for those local markets - New copies cannot be listed for sale in the UK. However, there is no copyright restriction on selling Used copies of such books. So, for example, if I bought a copy of a US title at a US airport as I was leaving for the UK, I could sell it in Used condition in the UK without breaching copyright restrictions. (And vice versa). There are plenty of pages for US editions of books on the Amazon UK website.

Paul


#19

There’s a chapter on copyright in the annual publication “Writer’s and artist’s yearbook” which should explain the author’s/publisher’s rights, although it probably will not state that you don’t need a licence to sell books: the law doesn’t usually specify what you don’t have to do, only what you can do, must do or can’t do! You may need to send Amazon a scan of the relevant section. However, I looked up this book title: it exists in hardback, paperback and Kindle editions. You (or any other bookseller) would, I think, be in breach of copyright if you attempted to sell or re-sell a Kindle version: as the Kindle version has no physical existence, you would effectively be re-publishing it which you have no right to do


#20

Agreed! [20 character min]