It’s September of 2022 and some authors are getting blamed for copyright infringement by Amazon. The company is cracking down HARD on pirated works, and some authors are getting banned from Amazon for copyright infringements – on their OWN books!
Why is this happening and what can you do to prevent it?
Authors, this might be the most important thing you read, at least while this is a relevant situation.
Amazon and Copyright Infringements
While I’ve been working on my TikTok account, I stumbled across some really worrisome content for authors last week. Multiple authors who shared their experiences of having their Amazon accounts completely locked out, books removed, etc. For copyright violations on their OWN books!
I have seen this come up in several different scenarios this week…
IBPA (the Independent Book Publisher’s Association) also had a discussion this week about the number of books being pirated, copied, and sold on Amazon. It’s hard to fight this without your copyright in place. While that is going to happen and is difficult to fight, the most concerning part is that your OWN Amazon account can be terminated for copyright infringement.
And recently, we had an author that is self-published under her own account but under one of my imprints, and Amazon sent her a message demanding a letter from the Publishing Company that reverts her rights or shows an agreement for her to publish the book in her account.
This is important!
What can you do to prevent a copyright notice from Amazon?
You need to make sure RIGHT NOW that all of your business paperwork is established properly.
1) If you have created an imprint with your book, make sure that name is listed under your business information. Even if your business is set up as an Individual business… there is a place for an official business name.
2) Ensure you’ve filed your copyright!
3) Publish your book on IngramSpark in addition to KDP, so that if Amazon ever does take down your account, your books are still selling on Amazon. To learn how to do this, go to this article, Tutorial for Publishing Your Book on IngramSpark.
4) If you’ve self-published but used a company to prepare the book for you, and your that companies name or ISBN is associated with your book, make sure you have a copy of the contract that shows you have permission to publish under your account, even if prepared by someone else.
A critical investment that you need to make in your books is the filing of the copyright. It should be done once you have a solid draft of your manuscript, but if you’re beyond that point, or even already published, it’s not too late.
Copyright Registration for Americans:
Register your copyright your books at copyright.gov so you have evidence of your ownership. It’s not a difficult process, costs about $65. If you need help navigating the site, here’s a tutorial. (The sites do change and update periodically, so if it looks different, the overall information should be the same.)
Copyright Registration for Canadians:
1) The work must be original.
2) It must be fixed in a somewhat permanent material form.
3) The author must meet the qualified person requirements set out in the Copyright Act.
Registration is not required for protection in Canada. However, the Copyright Act provides that a certificate of registration of copyright is evidence that copyright exists and that the person registered is the owner of the copyright. Having your work on the Register of Copyrights may also help those wishing to seek permission to use the work. For more information go to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office at https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/
Keep in mind that there is a cost associated with registering copyright, and if you decide to copyright every work you create, you may or may not receive a return on your investment.
Copyright Registration for Other Countries:
Do a Google search to find out how to file the copyright in your own country.
Do NOT risk losing your entire account, royalties, and being banned from Amazon because you didn’t take the 20 minutes to file your copyright.