Author Topic: Help; Amazon is demanding I prove copyright  (Read 4084 times)  

Offline K.B.

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Help; Amazon is demanding I prove copyright
« on: July 14, 2017, 08:21:21 AM »
So, I just got an email from Amazon saying I need to prove I have the rights to one of my books. I've pasted the acceptable documents below, none of which I have. I write and release all my work under pen names but don't register copyright. What the heck am I supposed to do?

###

- If you are the author and you are republishing your book after your publication rights have been reverted to you, a signed reversion letter from your former publisher
- If you are the author and you are publishing under a pseudonym, a copyright registration using the pseudonym
- If you are not the author, a signed contract between you and the author granting you the rights to publish the book in the territories, languages and formats you have selected
- If you are not the author, an e-mail from the address listed on the authors (or their agents) official website confirming that you have the rights to publish their book in the territories, languages and formats you have selected
- If you are a literary agent, a signed contract between you and the author or an email from the address listed on the authors official website granting you the right to act on the authors behalf with respect to the book

Documentation we cannot accept includes:

- A statement by you that you have the publishing rights without verification by the author/copyright holder
- A copyright application for which registration has not been confirmed

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Offline Glynn James

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Re: Help; Amazon is demanding I prove copyright
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2017, 08:29:31 AM »
Don't panic! It's their standard checkup if they suspect an issue (for any reason).
I usually reply something like this and it's enough for them so far -

"I am the author of this work and no rights are currently sold to any publishers or have been in the past.
I have only published this on KDP, therefore have no reversions to document."

You may want to modify something like that and add that it's a pen name.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2017, 08:33:52 AM by Glynn James »


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Offline Spinneyhead

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Re: Help; Amazon is demanding I prove copyright
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2017, 08:55:20 AM »
When I got a similar enquiry, I pointed them at my website, where I had posted some excerpts and short stories before I put them on Amazon. I didn't hear any more about it, so they must have been satisfied. If you have a web presence advertising your books, that may help your case.

Offline Becca Mills

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Re: Help; Amazon is demanding I prove copyright
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2017, 09:47:07 AM »
- If you are not the author, an e-mail from the address listed on the authors (or their agents) official website confirming that you have the rights to publish their book in the territories, languages and formats you have selected

Do the above. If you don't have an author website, go to Wordpress and set up a quick one with a contact page that shows your email address. Then write to Amazon from that address with a link to the page on your author site where they can see the address displayed. These copyright queries are common, so you need to be set up to deal with them.

Offline E.R.Baine

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Re: Help; Amazon is demanding I prove copyright
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2017, 10:04:17 AM »
When you upload to Amazon, that should be your copyright. As long as no one else can prove that they had the work in existence before the date you upload it. The statement above should work to prove that.
Quote
"I am the author of this work and no rights are currently sold to any publishers or have been in the past.
I have only published this on KDP, therefore have no reversions to document."

You can go here to copyright your work online for free: http://myows.com/
But this website is the most legitimate: https://eco.copyright.gov/eService_enu/start.swe?SWECmd=Start&SWEHo=eco.copyright.gov

Your main goal for copyright is to eventually get all your works registered with the US Copyright office.
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Online Issy

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Re: Help; Amazon is demanding I prove copyright
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2017, 10:26:58 AM »
I'm getting them from Createspace as I have a new penname and I did the ebooks first, and am just catching up on the paperbacks. I reply with:

Hello,

I am the author and publisher. I confirm that I am writing under a pseudonym. My pseudonym is ****. My real name is ******. These books are self-published and I hold all the rights.

Kind regards

******* (writing as ******)
 

Offline K.B.

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Re: Help; Amazon is demanding I prove copyright
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2017, 10:29:33 AM »
Due to an impending author rebranding, my site was taken down as I work to create a new one. I've previously had these requests and was able to use my author site as proof. I've sent a similar email as above and hoping for the best.

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Offline dianapersaud

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Re: Help; Amazon is demanding I prove copyright
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2017, 11:10:30 AM »
Due to an impending author rebranding, my site was taken down as I work to create a new one. I've previously had these requests and was able to use my author site as proof. I've sent a similar email as above and hoping for the best.

Did you upload the same content with a new ASIN and NEW pen name and that's what triggered the copyright notice?

(Mine was triggered when I modified keywords, so if you make ANY changes to an existing book it might trigger the copyright request notice.)

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Offline TwistedTales

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Re: Help; Amazon is demanding I prove copyright
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2017, 12:29:35 PM »

- If you are the author and you are publishing under a pseudonym, a copyright registration using the pseudonym

Documentation we cannot accept includes:
- A copyright application for which registration has not been confirmed

Interesting. What Amazon have been willing to accept as proof of copyright has always been unclear. Most of us have simply sent in a statement declaring ourselves as the copyright owner and that has been enough. The above two lines mean we must have registration, but that takes 12 months before we get the certificate.

If Amazon now insist we have the certificate or our books may be taken down then we'll be forced to delay publication for 12 months. My books are wide so I would publish on the other sites and market them through FB and other advertisers. I would be forced to explain why I am delaying publishing on Amazon.

I don't mind publishing on the other sites and delaying Amazon for 12 months until I get the copyright certificate. It just means when it comes to Amazon my books are on a diffferent release cycle to my writing cycle and every other site. From Amazon's point of view they might lose some of their readers/buyers because they'll buy my books from the other sites rather than wait for 12 months for them to be published on Amazon. I'll also be forced to promote my latest releases on every other site other than Amazon.

Oh well, if Amazon are ok with that then so am I.



Offline Kyra Halland

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Re: Help; Amazon is demanding I prove copyright
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2017, 12:38:41 PM »
Interesting. What Amazon have been willing to accept as proof of copyright has always been unclear. Most of us have simply sent in a statement declaring ourselves as the copyright owner and that has been enough. The above two lines mean we must have registration, but that takes 12 months before we get the certificate.

If Amazon now insist we have the certificate or our books may be taken down then we'll be forced to delay publication for 12 months. My books are wide so I would publish on the other sites and market them through FB and other advertisers. I would be forced to explain why I am delaying publishing on Amazon.

I don't mind publishing on the other sites and delaying Amazon for 12 months until I get the copyright certificate. It just means when it comes to Amazon my books are on a diffferent release cycle to my writing cycle and every other site. From Amazon's point of view they might lose some of their readers/buyers because they'll buy my books from the other sites rather than wait for 12 months for them to be published on Amazon. I'll also be forced to promote my latest releases on every other site other than Amazon.

Oh well, if Amazon are ok with that then so am I.

You don't have to wait until you get the certificate. On your account on the copyright registration site, you should be able to get access to an online copy of your registration form soon after doing the registration, which you can download as a pdf. When I got one of these from Amazon, I replied from my official author email address as posted on my website saying "I am [REAL NAME], the author of this book, writing and publishing under the pen name Kyra Halland" and attached the pdf of the copyright registration form. My book went through within a few hours (I got the copyright confirmation letter from Amazon when I was changing the price on a book after a promo).
« Last Edit: July 14, 2017, 12:43:57 PM by Kyra Halland »


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Offline TwistedTales

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Re: Help; Amazon is demanding I prove copyright
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2017, 12:44:45 PM »
You don't have to wait until you get the certificate. On your account on the copyright registration site, you should be able to get access to an online copy of your registration form soon after doing the registration, which you can download as a pdf. When I got one of these from Amazon, I replied from my official author email address as posted on my website saying "I am the author of this book, writing and publishing under [pen name]" and attached the pdf of the copyright registration form. My book went through within a few hours (I got the copyright confirmation letter from Amazon when I was changing the price on a book after a promo).

I just lifted the text of what the OP posted:

"Documentation we cannot accept includes:
- A copyright application for which registration has not been confirmed"

It depends on whether they mean they'll accept an "application" versus and actual registration number. In your case, they accepted the "application" because you haven't got a registration number, but they seem to change the rules. I simply looked at the worst case scenario where they only accept a registration certificate/number and assessed what I'd do about that.

Offline Kyra Halland

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Re: Help; Amazon is demanding I prove copyright
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2017, 12:50:46 PM »
I just lifted the text of what the OP posted:

"Documentation we cannot accept includes:
- A copyright application for which registration has not been confirmed"

It depends on whether they mean they'll accept an "application" versus and actual registration number. In your case, they accepted the "application" because you haven't got a registration number, but they seem to change the rules. I simply looked at the worst case scenario where they only accept a registration certificate/number and assessed what I'd do about that.


Yeah, come to think of it, this was a book that had already been out for a couple of years.

But to reassure the OP, I had no trouble, and I've never heard of anyone having any trouble, just responding to the email from their official author email address as posted on their official author website stating they're the author and hold the rights, along with a statement of their pen name (if applicable). If you start here and they're stubborn about it, I guess you escalate until you get someone who lets it through.


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Offline TwistedTales

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Re: Help; Amazon is demanding I prove copyright
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2017, 12:57:17 PM »
Yeah, come to think of it, this was a book that had already been out for a couple of years.

But to reassure the OP, I had no trouble, and I've never heard of anyone having any trouble, just responding to the email from their official author email address as posted on their official author website stating they're the author and hold the rights, along with a statement of their pen name (if applicable). If you start here and they're stubborn about it, I guess you escalate until you get someone who lets it through.

I'm sure the OP will be able to fight this one out, but I've been tracking the evolution of Amazon's demands for proof of copyright. I suspect there has been a policy shift they are slowly moving towards, which will involve copyright registration for all books. Bringing down a hammer would be too disruptive, so Amazon are using harassment tactics to get authors to apply for copyright. It worked on me and now all of my major series are registered. I didn't bother with the standalones. They don't sell well and Amazon can take them down for all I care.

Online Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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Re: Help; Amazon is demanding I prove copyright
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2017, 01:02:38 PM »
I wonder if they would accept the neat pile of rejection letters going back 30 years from trad publishers  ;D

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Offline Becca Mills

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Re: Help; Amazon is demanding I prove copyright
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2017, 01:22:18 PM »
Due to an impending author rebranding, my site was taken down as I work to create a new one. I've previously had these requests and was able to use my author site as proof. I've sent a similar email as above and hoping for the best.

If they don't accept it, just spend a few minutes setting up a free one-page site somewhere that shows your email address, then email KDP again, this time with a link to the site included.

Offline Sydney

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Re: Help; Amazon is demanding I prove copyright
« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2017, 09:32:52 AM »
I woke up this morning to the same email requesting proof of copyright for my most successful book. I had registered it, but I can't find the documentation. Luckily, copyrights are public record, so I downloaded the record and emailed it to them. Think that's sufficient? (trying not to panic).

Offline dianapersaud

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Re: Help; Amazon is demanding I prove copyright
« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2017, 10:21:13 AM »
I woke up this morning to the same email requesting proof of copyright for my most successful book. I had registered it, but I can't find the documentation. Luckily, copyrights are public record, so I downloaded the record and emailed it to them. Think that's sufficient? (trying not to panic).


Have you updated anything with that book recently? Keywords? Back matter?

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Offline Bookread

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Re: Help; Amazon is demanding I prove copyright
« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2017, 10:24:31 AM »
I haven't heard of this happening before, so I appreciate the information. It's handy to have good housekeeping.
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Offline Sydney

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Re: Help; Amazon is demanding I prove copyright
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2017, 10:26:08 AM »
Have you updated anything with that book recently? Keywords? Back matter?

I enrolled it in KDP about a week ago. That's all.

Offline K.B.

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Re: Help; Amazon is demanding I prove copyright
« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2017, 12:21:57 PM »
I still haven't heard anything from them, and to answer a question upthread, the only change I made was to adjust the price from $2.99 to $3.99.

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Online Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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Re: Help; Amazon is demanding I prove copyright
« Reply #20 on: July 15, 2017, 12:42:05 PM »
This is quite worrying and makes you think twice before making even the slightest change in case it triggers something untoward  :o.

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Offline ImaWriter

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Re: Help; Amazon is demanding I prove copyright
« Reply #21 on: July 15, 2017, 01:05:17 PM »
You can go here to copyright your work online for free: http://myows.com/
But this website is the most legitimate: https://eco.copyright.gov/eService_enu/start.swe?SWECmd=Start&SWEHo=eco.copyright.gov
Your main goal for copyright is to eventually get all your works registered with the US Copyright office.

Bold mine. Sorry, but I beg to differ. Registering copyright with the government is the ONLY legit way to do it, not the most. There is no free way to get copyright. Go straight to the Gov or get it done by a 3rd party vendor who will submit it legally for you--for a surcharge. 

Due to an impending author rebranding, my site was taken down as I work to create a new one. I've previously had these requests and was able to use my author site as proof. I've sent a similar email as above and hoping for the best.

OP, if what you've done so far doesn't pan out, how about searching to see if you can find your site in the Wayback Machine? Perhaps with a link to that and proof you own the domain--assuming you aren't using a freebie platform--you might get farther. Proof could be a screenshot from your Domain Manager where ever you purchased the domain and or a screenshot from WhoIs. Although WhoIs is public and anyone could take a screenshot there. Only you could access your Domain Manager.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2017, 01:03:59 PM by ImaWriter »

Offline Becca Mills

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Re: Help; Amazon is demanding I prove copyright
« Reply #22 on: July 15, 2017, 01:36:44 PM »
I haven't heard of this happening before, so I appreciate the information. It's handy to have good housekeeping.

It happens a lot and, I have to say, it's really annoying. You'd think they could put a "copyright has been verified" tag in the hidden metadata of each book so that they don't re-query you every time you update something. I used to make little changes and tweaks to my books quite a bit. Now I don't because there's a copyright query every time. Sometimes combined with "send us a complete list of everywhere it appears free, with verification that you put it in all those places," which is a huge drag for free books with very wide distribution. <grumble>

Offline K.B.

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Re: Help; Amazon is demanding I prove copyright
« Reply #23 on: July 15, 2017, 04:16:21 PM »
I received an email a few hours ago saying "Bad Reputation" has been published, so the vague email above worked.

Thanks, everyone!

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Offline lsjohnson

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Re: Help; Amazon is demanding I prove copyright
« Reply #24 on: July 15, 2017, 04:21:27 PM »
Note that when you file for copyright with the US Government, you can file multiple works at one time and only pay the one fee (last time I did this it was $35, not sure if it's gone up since then.) I registered my collection, plus a couple of novelettes I was thinking of publishing as standalones, and the then-current draft of my novel so I could start floating around excerpts without worry.





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