Author Topic: Amazon demands publishing right proof, copyright registration isn't enough!  (Read 1561 times)  

Offline J Bee

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 225
  • Gender: Male
  • No matter the genre, it's all about heart.
    • View Profile
I received an email from Amazon a few weeks back, asking me to provide evidence of my right to publish for one of my titles. I'm sure many of you have experienced this too. Usually I just send them a scan of my copyright registration from the Library of Congress. My series title-scheme is also trademarked, so I sent that in as well. To my surprise, this was their response:

"We've reviewed the information you provided. Based on our review, we're unable to confirm that you hold the necessary publishing rights.

The information you provided is insufficient because of the following concerns:
Documentation or information explaining the edition previously published on Amazon has not been provided Documentation has not been provided to confirm you are the original author of the content Documentation has not been provided to confirm that the author granted you rights to publish the content Documentation has not been provided to confirm that rights were reverted to the author from the previous publisher Documentation provided is illegible and we will need you to resend higher quality documentation.
The information provided indicates that the previous publisher was"

That jumble of text is how the email was sent to me, including the cut-off sentence at the end. As for their concerns, I'm a self-published author and always have been. There are no previous publishers or editions of this book. There has never been a previous copyright claimant. I can't think of any contracts I could send them, because I'm very much a one-man show. I made sure to scan the copyright certificate at a higher resolution and sent that in while explaining all of the above.  To my dismay, this was their response:

"We've reviewed the information you provided. Based on our review, we're unable to confirm that you hold the necessary publishing rights.

In order to publish the book(s), reply to this email within 5 days and provide us with further documentation and/or verification showing you hold rights to the content."

That's it. I called their help line and pleaded to speak with someone in that department and was given the runaround. I sent yet another email to Amazon explaining the situation with even more ways for them to view the copyright registration (PDF instead of image file plus a download link), but at this point I feel like I'm playing a guessing game. I don't know what Amazon wants, and they aren't giving me any useful information.

Am I missing something? Has anyone else been in this scenario? I've always tried to be prepared, which is why I have a trademark and copyright registrations for all my books, but I'm baffled as to how that isn't enough. Does anyone have any ideas? I'd appreciate your help!

KBoards.com

  • Advertisement
  • ***

    Offline Moe D

    • Status: Lewis Carroll
    • **
    • Posts: 120
      • View Profile
    Could there be a pirated copy on Amazon? Under another title and author name?

    Offline J Bee

    • Status: Lewis Carroll
    • **
    • Posts: 225
    • Gender: Male
    • No matter the genre, it's all about heart.
      • View Profile
    Could there be a pirated copy on Amazon? Under another title and author name?

    I wondered the same thing. Is there a way of finding out? I did do a Google search of random snippets from the book, just in case, but nothing suspicious turned up. Even if someone did plagiarize the content, isn't that what the copyright certificate is for? To prove that I'm the legal rights holder?

    Offline publishwide

    • Status: Dr. Seuss
    • *
    • Posts: 41
      • View Profile
      • Publishwide
    Is your book a non-fiction or fiction? I've never had to do anything like that for fiction books. But I can see why Amazon might be more inclined to do that for non-fiction, especially non-fiction whose source materials might be open-source.
    Publishwide - Reporting and analytics tool to track your royalties and ad spend in one place.
    Self Publishing Checklist - Step-by-step checklist helpful links to becoming a successful self published author.
    KENP Royalty Calculator - Quickly estimate your KENPC royalty
    Amazon Description Preview Tool - Preview how your Amazon book description blurb will look like before you publish it live.

    Offline Moe D

    • Status: Lewis Carroll
    • **
    • Posts: 120
      • View Profile
    I wondered the same thing. Is there a way of finding out? I did do a Google search of random snippets from the book, just in case, but nothing suspicious turned up. Even if someone did plagiarize the content, isn't that what the copyright certificate is for? To prove that I'm the legal rights holder?

    Amazon operates in mysterious ways.

    I had something similar happen to me, and it turned out someone had stolen my book and published it under some other name. Thankfully, Amazon believed me. It helped that this person had stolen other books and those authors complained too.

    I usually google my blurb and the first few paragraphs of my book.

    Online ImaWriter

    • Status: Scheherazade
    • *****
    • Posts: 1237
    • Gender: Female
    • Canada
      • View Profile
    Do you have a website? A domain you can send an email from is your best bet. If you have talked about or advertised your book, send an email from, for example, mail @ jbee . com with a link pointing to your earliest mention of the book. If someone has republished your book that date should be prior to their publish date.

    That often works when this comes up. And it's just one more reason to have a domain with an email address attached to it.

    Offline Kathy Dee

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
    • ****
    • Posts: 763
    • Gender: Female
      • View Profile
    Do you have a website? A domain you can send an email from is your best bet. If you have talked about or advertised your book, send an email from, for example, mail @ jbee . com with a link pointing to your earliest mention of the book. If someone has republished your book that date should be prior to their publish date.

    That often works when this comes up. And it's just one more reason to have a domain with an email address attached to it.

    ^This has worked for me too i.e. sending an email from my own domain.

    Offline Indiecognito

    • Status: Jane Austen
    • ***
    • Posts: 331
    • Gender: Female
    • Even I don't know who I am
      • View Profile
    Do you have a website? A domain you can send an email from is your best bet. If you have talked about or advertised your book, send an email from, for example, mail @ jbee . com with a link pointing to your earliest mention of the book. If someone has republished your book that date should be prior to their publish date.

    That often works when this comes up. And it's just one more reason to have a domain with an email address attached to it.

    Yup, this. Even if you don't and can whip one up with a .com with your author name and a pic of your book covers, it should satisfy.

    Offline J Bee

    • Status: Lewis Carroll
    • **
    • Posts: 225
    • Gender: Male
    • No matter the genre, it's all about heart.
      • View Profile
    Thank you for the advice everyone! The email address I use for KDP is a strange one. It used to belong to my husband, but I took it over when we were selling on eBay and his last name has even changed since then. I kept using it because my readers and sites don't list it, so people can't try hacking any of my publishing accounts. Sounds like maybe this is the issue, or at least something else I can try.

    I'll set up a new email address with my domain. Once I do, it sounds like I should respond to the KDP email using that email address? Or should I migrate my KDP account over to the new email first? Both?

    Online ImaWriter

    • Status: Scheherazade
    • *****
    • Posts: 1237
    • Gender: Female
    • Canada
      • View Profile

    I'll set up a new email address with my domain. Once I do, it sounds like I should respond to the KDP email using that email address? Or should I migrate my KDP account over to the new email first? Both?

    Respond with your domain email address and reference it in the body of your email. Don't expect KDP to notice it. And tell them you are using this as proof of the fact the book is yours. I'm guessing the book is on your site somewhere, so link to that directly in the email as well.  That should be sufficient. and if someone else has published your book, they will go after them now--assuming they have published on Amazon.

    Offline J Bee

    • Status: Lewis Carroll
    • **
    • Posts: 225
    • Gender: Male
    • No matter the genre, it's all about heart.
      • View Profile
    Okay... I replied to the KPD with an email address connected to my domain. As of this morning, the book in question is officially blocked. I have no idea if Amazon has seen my most recent emails, but I find it very disturbing that this can happen to someone who didn't break any rules and who went out of their way to be prepared with the right documentation. Once a book is blocked, is that it? Has anyone gotten their books unblocked before? This is feeling more and more hopeless. We are not in good hands.

    Offline anotherpage

    • Status: Arthur C Clarke
    • *****
    • Posts: 2383
      • View Profile
    Good advise above

    Offline P.A. Woodburn

    • Status: Arthur C Clarke
    • *****
    • Posts: 2137
    • Gender: Female
    • washington
      • View Profile
    I received an email from Amazon a few weeks back, asking me to provide evidence of my right to publish for one of my titles. I'm sure many of you have experienced this too. Usually I just send them a scan of my copyright registration from the Library of Congress. My series title-scheme is also trademarked, so I sent that in as well. To my surprise, this was their response:

    "We've reviewed the information you provided. Based on our review, we're unable to confirm that you hold the necessary publishing rights.

    The information you provided is insufficient because of the following concerns:
    Documentation or information explaining the edition previously published on Amazon has not been provided Documentation has not been provided to confirm you are the original author of the content Documentation has not been provided to confirm that the author granted you rights to publish the content Documentation has not been provided to confirm that rights were reverted to the author from the previous publisher Documentation provided is illegible and we will need you to resend higher quality documentation.
    The information provided indicates that the previous publisher was"

    That jumble of text is how the email was sent to me, including the cut-off sentence at the end. As for their concerns, I'm a self-published author and always have been. There are no previous publishers or editions of this book. There has never been a previous copyright claimant. I can't think of any contracts I could send them, because I'm very much a one-man show. I made sure to scan the copyright certificate at a higher resolution and sent that in while explaining all of the above.  To my dismay, this was their response:

    "We've reviewed the information you provided. Based on our review, we're unable to confirm that you hold the necessary publishing rights.

    In order to publish the book(s), reply to this email within 5 days and provide us with further documentation and/or verification showing you hold rights to the content."

    That's it. I called their help line and pleaded to speak with someone in that department and was given the runaround. I sent yet another email to Amazon explaining the situation with even more ways for them to view the copyright registration (PDF instead of image file plus a download link), but at this point I feel like I'm playing a guessing game. I don't know what Amazon wants, and they aren't giving me any useful information.

    Am I missing something? Has anyone else been in this scenario? I've always tried to be prepared, which is why I have a trademark and copyright registrations for all my books, but I'm baffled as to how that isn't enough. Does anyone have any ideas? I'd appreciate your help!

    This sounds like another scary nightmare. Way back in the day, we were pretty causal about registering our books. Now you say a copyright and trademark is not enough. I just got my review rights removed by Amazon. No idea why. I'm not a very regular reviewer anyway, but it's downright annoying and makes me wonder how much we can depend on their reviews anyway if they just bar someone. I wrote a letter to them and have not received a response. Unfortunately we purchase a lot from Amazon because I don't feel safe going into a store. Someone needs to write a book about all the changes that have taken place for those who are planning to restart writing because from what I can tell it has changed completely.

    Offline P.A. Woodburn

    • Status: Arthur C Clarke
    • *****
    • Posts: 2137
    • Gender: Female
    • washington
      • View Profile
    It sounds like Amazon can do whatever they want and never explain the reason. If someone is a psychopath or merely thinks they don't like you for some reason they can do this if they work for Amazon. I have a copyright for my novel but  never thought of a trademark. I really don't like this level of control.

    Offline helpmeplz

    • Status: Dr. Seuss
    • *
    • Posts: 11
      • View Profile
    I was banned from KDP after someone made a copyright claim. I showed that it was my original material. They said it didn't matter and banned me anyway. Be careful.

    Offline Clay

    • Status: Dr. Seuss
    • *
    • Posts: 24
      • View Profile
    Amazons customer service is damn near A+ when it comes to customers buying merchandise, but when it comes to authors they treat us like crap.

    To the OP, I'm sorry you're going through this, it sounds like a nightmare. I've heard of this happening before but normally the author resolves it with an email from their author domain. Not sure how that's more legitimate than a copyright registration.

    Offline Triceratops

    • Status: Madeleine L'Engle
    • **
    • Posts: 75
    • Cinderella story.
      • View Profile
    Shot in the dark here, but for the future, if upon upload-publication one assigns an ISBN to one's ebook and also registers that ISBN with Bowker, could that make a difference?

    Amazon can easily check Bowker to see who owns the ISBN.

    I know that in the USA ISBNs cost money. I'm thinking more if one had already bought ten or a hundred, and had one to spare.

    Sorry OP. Sucks.

    Offline Speaker-To-Animals

    • Status: Dostoevsky
    • ******
    • Posts: 3037
      • View Profile
    Quote
    Now you say a copyright and trademark is not enough.

    Refusing to accept a copyright notice as proof of ownership goes back years with Amazon. It's one of the reasons I don't think registration is worth a whole lot.

    Offline Big Howard

    • Status: Dr. Seuss
    • *
    • Posts: 2
      • View Profile
    Refusing to accept a copyright notice as proof of ownership goes back years with Amazon.

    If they won't take a copyright notice, what will they accept as proof? Or is it completely arbitrary?

    I've not had an problems yet, thankfully...

    Online NikOK

    • Status: Lewis Carroll
    • **
    • Posts: 160
    • Gender: Male
    • VA
      • View Profile
    Hey, I saw this thread a few days ago and was just hoping that you've heard from amazon about this by now.  It sounds like a pretty crazy situation.  That would be rough if it had to come down to getting a lawyer just for this.  Not really sure what advice I can give, but I'm rooting for you getting your book back, for sure.  Hope it ends up all good in the end.

    KBoards.com

    • Advertisement
    • ***