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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, some of you may know who I am. If not, quick intro:

I started in 2011 as an indie author, walked away from trad pubbing. It wasn't my thing. Long story short, break out book hit the NYT list after sleeping for 9 months, then I had a novel hit the top 100 of amazon and stay there for over 100 days. I've sold over 10 million copies and work 100+ hours a week. Writers work their asses off.

Recently, KDP decided to pull my books from 2013. I'm well known with a KDP rep and filed my copyright papers. No one asked for them--they simply pulled my titles with no notice. 4 times.

I'm willing to say the first three could have been a glitch. Book 4? Unlikely. Will more follow? Probably?

I got no response from my rep or from amazon saying why it happened.

I posted this on FB:


Dear Fans,

Amazon pulled 4 of my titles this week because they didn't believe I was me. Yup, that's right--even Facebook was able to verify that. You'd think with, I don't know, social security numbers and banking info that it'd be clear I was me, but alas--they want proof.

So I log into my email saying that my book has been pulled from sale on Amazon, despite the fact that I own the copyright, they know I'm me (for taxes), and I asked them to research this 'problem.'

I played nice and thought the first three times was a glitch, because I received no warning, no notice--nothing--before my book was scrubbed from their site.

The copyright is public record. They could have found it or requested it long before now!

The book that was removed tonight was THE ARRANGEMENT 7. If you have any love for me, Sean Ferro, or authors--tell Amazon/  Amazon Kindle that this is NOT a good way to treat their authors. Tell them that they shouldn't treat new writers this way--they shouldn't treat anyone this way! ...

This post will probably kick me in the ass. No one speaks out against Amazon. Ever. In all honesty, in the past I couldn't find a bad thing to say about them if I wanted to, but over the past few months--holy crap.

-----

That sums it up, but wait! There's more!

Have you heard of authors being extorted by people? It's the newest thing and Anazon's policy works right into these peoples evil hands. The word on the street is this: a writer gets their book put in amazon copyright jail. It can perish there (I'm sure you've heard the tales), and suddenly there's a message from an evil citizen asking for money. They say they can lift the copyright infringement claim if you send them $X today.

What the heck is going on?

I'm serious in saying there was a time KDP did nothing wrong. I was a nobody with no rep. I earned enough money to feed my family and pay my bills. I worked my ass off and they watched out for their writers in a way that NY publishers never could.

Amazon people reading this post--why did you toss that away? You had hundreds of thousands of writers praising you. Now we have this. :(

 

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As with many large businesses, they get so large and stick their fingers in so many pies that they forget to take care of the core business that got them started. If any of their competitors in the ebook/self-pub business had their act together ... but, alas ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A fan brought up this point:

The German edition is still available. It was sold to Amazon Crossing. They already have signed paper work saying I own the rights. #asselbowproblems
 

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Hello HM, sorry, I've not much to add except to say that I'm sorry you're finding yourself going through this right now. But also, thank you for letting us know. I think that it's good for writers to see some of the really shady things Amazon does not only to the small guys but the massive names too, otherwise we get scary complacent.

I hope that your situation gets sorted quickly. Nice to see you around here, sorry it's for something so completely cr*p.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Stephanie Marks said:
Hello HM, sorry, I've not much to add except to say that I'm sorry you're finding yourself going through this right now. But also, thank you for letting us know. I think that it's good for writers to see some of the really shady things Amazon does not only to the small guys but the massive names too, otherwise we get scary complacent.

I hope that your situation gets sorted quickly. Nice to see you around here, sorry it's for something so completely cr*p.
Thank you! Not sure what's up with them or what's up. If I figure out what triggered this, I'll let you guys know. It's not fun.
 

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Stephanie Marks said:
Hello HM, sorry, I've not much to add except to say that I'm sorry you're finding yourself going through this right now. But also, thank you for letting us know. I think that it's good for writers to see some of the really shady things Amazon does not only to the small guys but the massive names too, otherwise we get scary complacent.

I hope that your situation gets sorted quickly. Nice to see you around here, sorry it's for something so completely cr*p.
Hear! Hear!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Stephanie Marks said:
Oh! Btw, I watched your webinar that you put in for the massive online writers convention earlier this year. The one out of London... ummm... Oh, IndieRecon! Just wanted to say that I really enjoyed it. I like your Golden Trifecta imagery.
Thanks! More of those are coming. :) And they're free! Wahoo!
 

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H.M. Ward said:
Amazon pulled 4 of my titles this week because they didn't believe I was me. Yup, that's right--even Facebook was able to verify that. You'd think with, I don't know, social security numbers and banking info that it'd be clear I was me, but alas--they want proof.

So I log into my email saying that my book has been pulled from sale on Amazon, despite the fact that I own the copyright, they know I'm me (for taxes), and I asked them to research this 'problem.'

I played nice and thought the first three times was a glitch, because I received no warning, no notice--nothing--before my book was scrubbed from their site.

The copyright is public record. They could have found it or requested it long before now!

-----

Have you heard of authors being extorted by people? It's the newest thing and Anazon's policy works right into these peoples evil hands. The word on the street is this: a writer gets their book put in amazon copyright jail. It can perish there (I'm sure you've heard the tales), and suddenly there's a message from an evil citizen asking for money. They say they can lift the copyright infringement claim if you send them $X today.

What the heck is going on?
I'm sorry to hear this is happening to you, Holly. I think you're being targetted either by an extortionist or a jealous scumbag. Amazon is required by law to remove books from sale when a DMCA takedown notice is received. In your case, it's obviously not credible, but the procedures are already in place for DMCA takedown notices, and the scumbag knows your book will be out of commission for days or weeks while you and Amazon deal with the situation.

If it's an extortionist, you'll eventually get a message asking for money to stop this madness. If it's a jealous scumbag, you'll never get that message. They'll just keep doing it over and over again until someone stops them.
 

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Holly, dunno if you heard about my copyright scam earlier this year, but writing to Jeff Bezos is what fixed it. Then again, all that really did was put me in touch with Executive Customer Relations. Since you have a rep, you're already in contact with that level of the company. Writing to Bezos should not be necessary to get their attention.

Have you filed a proper DMCA counter-notification with Amazon? That's essential. Essential, but unfortunately, not a guarantee.

The DMCA does require Amazon take down a book upon receiving a notice of copyright infringement. A DMCA notice is not something Amazon can choose to ignore -- not without substantial legal risk. (Of course, if the notifier is a scammer, that risk will never come to anything.)

But once an author files a DMCA counter-notification, Amazon then has room for choice. It could 1) restore the book automatically, until such time as the notifier obtains a court ruling against the counter-notifier, or 2) take a look at the situation and restore the book if the counter-notifier seems to be in the right. As I understand it, the DMCA provides safe harbor for either one of these reactions: Amazon could do either one of these things with zero legal risk. But -- and this is key -- the DMCA does not require a site to restore notified-against material upon receiving counter-notification.

Unfortunately, Amazon has so far chosen to ignore DMCA counter-notifications in favor of telling the two parties to work things out on their own. It's a recipe for disaster.

That said, I'm shocked that this has happened to someone of your stature. The scammers are fools to target major authors.
 

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H.M. Ward said:
No it wasn't. That was the we are taking down your book email. In the top they referenced another email that was never sent. At least I didnt get one. You'd think warning for 4 titles would be noticed, if they were sent...
Did you not receive mails like the one the other author got in the other thread (referenced above) where you're also commenting, Holly? Because the way you state it in the OP -- that they're asking for proof you're you -- it doesn't sound at all like an extortion scheme like Becca was a target of. It sounds like you overlooked or simply decided you didn't need to respond to the emails they sent to you.

I've gotten and dealt with a gajillion of those copyright verifications since I've published over 100 books by 4 authors with multiple publishers and multiple versions of everything they've done, as well as 36 box sets with anywhere from 5 to 10 authors per set. For the boxes, I forward the Letters of Agreement, and for everything else, I send along an email as requested within the time frame asked. It's a minor hassle to search for and forward the LoAs, but the other verifications take all of 1 minute to respond to. Fail to respond and the bots pull the books, I would imagine. I haven't not responded to find out.

I'm confused as to what kind of correspondence you received. It *sounds* like the same verification emails I've been getting for years. Are you packaging your books into boxes--your own or others? That's often a trigger. And it's bots handling this for the most part. And random. I've had box sets sail through with no verification required until I made a change to the price or metadata, then BAM, there's the verification request after the title's been up for weeks or months. Then when the box authors make changes to their single titles that might have been up for years, they'll willy-nilly get emails too. I've even had boxes targeted multiple times.

Do you not have a phone number to call KDP? I mean even *I* have been given a number to call. Otherwise, what's your rep doing?
 

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Kylo Ren said:
So, let me get this straight. If I send one of those DMCA notices to Amazon, claiming that I hold the copyright to, say, The Stand by Stephen King, they would remove King's book, no questions asked?
According to my understanding, yes, that's what the law would require them to do. In actuality, of course they'd ignore it.

In all honesty, I would've thought Holly would've achieved "couldn't happen to her" status as well.

The main difference, I'm guess, is that King's works are not handled by KDP reps, who seem unempowered to do anything besides react in rigidly scripted ways. The people in other parts of the company have the autonomy to stop and think, "Wait a minute ..."

P.S. Don't test out the King thing, Kylo. False DMCAs = perjury.
 

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Kylo Ren said:
Obvi, hypothetical. :)
Yeah. But as I read your post, a little devil was whispering "Do it! Just to see what'd happen!" in my ear. ;)
 

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PhoenixS said:
Did you not receive mails like the one the other author got in the other thread (referenced above) where you're also commenting, Holly? Because the way you state it in the OP -- that they're asking for proof you're you -- it doesn't sound at all like an extortion scheme like Becca was a target of. It sounds like you overlooked or simply decided you didn't need to respond to the emails they sent to you.
She says she "received no warning, no notice--nothing." That said, it's worth mentioning that the notification KDP sent me when Nolander was taken down did land in my spam folder.
 
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