Home » Amazon, Piracy » Amazon Piracy – Bumped

Amazon Piracy – Bumped

7 July 2011

So you don’t miss a couple of important posts from earlier today, Passive Guy and a lot of people who visit here are trying to help out author Ruth Ann Nordin, who is having serious problems with pirated copies of her books being sold on Amazon. She can’t get Amazon to respond to the latest of her books to be posted by a thief.

Here are links to today’s first post and second post about Ms. Nordin.

For bottom line types, here’s what we’re doing (and it’s going well so far):

Everybody blog, everybody Tweet, everybody post on Facebook. Use the words “Amazon” and “Piracy” right up front. Include “Ruth Ann Nordin” somewhere in the body. PG will use the hashtag, #AmazonPiracy.

If you want to drop a nasty review using words like Thief and Stolen on the pirated book on Amazon, here’s a link. There are nine new negative reviews since PG checked this morning.

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29 Comments to “Amazon Piracy – Bumped”

  1. 20 negative reviews now – and I’m utilizing the feedback links at the bottom of the screen to let Amazon know what I think about them letting a stolen book be put out for purchase!

  2. Since Amazon is selling stolen goods, does that make them a ‘fence?’ It seems like they should be held liable for selling stolen property.

    • Jack – That’s a state law issue. Most often, the crime is receiving stolen property. I don’t know if any states criminalize receiving or selling intangible property like copyrights.

      It’s an interesting question, however.

      • I don’t think this is right–it’s most definitely not a state law issue. I don’t believe a state could criminalize theft of IP, at least in this manner, because the federal government has expressly preempted state law on this point under 17 USC s. 301. Additional criminal punishments imposed by states, especially ones that could effectively change the federal definitions of indirect infringement, would alter the federal balance struck on IP issues. This is not something states can do.

        What Amazon is doing is a form of indirect infringement: probably both vicarious and contributory infringement. If it doesn’t respond to the DMCA request in a reasonable amount of time, it stands in the shoes of the direct infringer and

        I sincerely doubt that Amazon’s conduct rises to criminal copyright infringement.

        If they don’t respond to the DMCA request, they are indirect infringers, and assuming that Ms. Nordin registered her copyright before the infringement, she can seek statutory damages.

        • How could it not rise to criminal copyright infringement? They are selling copyrighted material without the owners permission, and even when notified (assuming the DMCA notice had the required information) they refuse to stop selling the material. It’s the definition of criminal copyright infringement. Provided they are selling the material (they are), are aware the material is infringing (they were notified per the DMCA), and the material has a value of over $1,000 (it probably is).

          • I scanned the district court opinion in Corbis v. Amazon quickly and was surprised at how easily Amazon avoided the copyright issues under the DMCA.

            This was, of course, an early DMCA case and I know copyright registration played a role as well.

            • I would disagree, only slightly.

              That case hinged on Amazon being unaware of the infringing material. Corbis never notified Amazon of the infringing material and simply started a lawsuit, which is exactly what 512(c) was designed to prevent. The court found that Amazon responded promptly when notified and therefore qualified for safe harbor protection.

              In this instance the facts are very different. Amazon has not responded promptly. They have not removed the infringing material when notified. They are accepting payment for material, worth over $1000, that they know to be infringing. They appear to be engaged in criminal copyright infringement. Assuming again, that they notice sent by Ms. Norton met the requirements of the DMCA.

              BTW love this blog. 🙂

              • Christian – Thanks for the clarification. One of my to-do list items is to become more familiar with DMCA jurisprudence.

  3. Patricia Sierra

    I’m starting to doubt that the book has been stolen. I downloaded a sample, and all that’s there is this:

    “a sample?”

    And then there’s a link to buy the book, and another link to more info in the Kindle Store — the typical sign off when a sample ends.

    Could be, because of the past thefts of the author’s work, someone’s just tweaking her. The price on the book is also not likely to attract any buyers (I think it’s over $20).

    • Patricia – Interesting. I wonder why someone would do that with the sample. I did notice the high price.

      • If the contents of the Amazon ebook were not copyrighted material, a lot of things would change.

        • Patricia Sierra

          I agree. And you can’t copyright a title. Posing as the author is not a swell idea, but I have a feeling this is all a hoax.

          • Patricia Sierra

            Let me clarify. I don’t mean a hoax on Ruth Ann’s part. Just some joker…

            • Most interesting. Ruth Ann previously reported problems with two of her other books on Amazon. I wonder if someone is trying to tweak her about this.

              OTOH, I’ve seen enough reports from frustrated authors over Amazon’s failure to remove pirated books to know this is a real problem.

      • Patricia Sierra

        Amazon determines what will be in the sample. It’s a set percentage of the book.

        • This is the last title she has to get removed. The first were easy, because she previously published them through Amazon. This one is a small Christmas play she had available for free I believe on Smashwords. She didn’t have it for sale on Amazon because SHE didn’t think it warranted the money limits of $.99. That is her right to make as it is her content.

          I think the bigger issue this is showing is that Amazon swiftly took her other two books down, as the DMCA was essentially IN their interest. Now that the work is clearly published at a much earlier date on another site, Smashwords, they are dragging their feet. That has very serious repercussions for self-publishing authors. Is the only way to protect ourselves from Amazon thieves is to sell through Amazon? And if so, what encouragement is there for Amazon to PREVENT the thieves if it forces more authors to get their work up there as fast as they can?

  4. The Torrent people are selling my book.
    Plus, on Amazon, someone stole the cover ‘look’ of my book and my name, yes…my name. I’m getting messages congratulating me for getting my second book up.
    I emailed Amazon and got the whole “copyright” blah blah.
    If someone pirated my book, I’d be sick.

    • I doubt “the torrent people” are accepting money for your book. If they are I would suggest you contact the FBI at http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx

      • Patricia Sierra

        The only “pay” I’ve seen on pirate sites is actually a swap of downloads for uploads, though it’s sometimes expressed as “bucks”.

        They limit how many files a subscriber can download till they’re required to upload a file (or files).

  5. Patricia Sierra

    Two of my books are on torrent sites, and once a teen girl in China posted one of my books in its entirety on her website. She changed the character’s names to her friends’ names. That last one was easy to get taken down (all I had to do was send the web operator a copy of my book contract), but the other two were impossible to remove.

    • Patricia – My understanding is the torrent sites are enormously difficult to put down because they can be moved or replicated across many different machines.

  6. Followed the link to the book and Ruth Nordin is listed as the author.

  7. As of this morning, Amazon appears to have taken this item down, finally! Whether it was a joke by the posting thief or not, the e-attack appears to have been successful. This time.

  8. Just tweeted this, then went to the link to add to the howls of protest …. and I got an error message. The kind Amazon’s engine puts up when they take a book down.
    Bravo, PG

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