That’s the title of an article on Bookmarket.com. Lots of detail in the article; here’s a snippet:
Did you know that your copyrighted work (which took you months or years to write) might right now be sitting on Amazon.com and being sold as a Kindle ebook by some charlatan – and may be sold under your name! But the money is going to someone named Mingfeng Lai or other aliases.
And, worse, Amazon is doing nothing about it but pocketing the money from such sales!
It’s already happened to a number of authors!
Ernie Zelinski has already discovered three of his books being resold as Kindle ebooks by people who have stolen his content. Mingfeng Lai is selling Career Success Without a Real Job and Retire Happy, Wild, and Free for 99 cents. Amazingly, the faux author describes the book as being written by Ernie Zelinski but lists himself as the author.
And that comes as a surprise to anyone… why? And it’s fundamentally different from someone taking a text that isn’t his, printing it and selling it in a Brick’n’Mortar store… how?
I read about one case last month and the real author said Amazon took care of it within hours of being notified.
Anytime someone ends almost every sentence with an exclamation point, I tend to doubt their story.
I trust Stross’s report (as an aside to a similar complaint)
“Amazon failed to acknowledge my DMCA takedown notices via email or signed-for international snail mail, and I was forced to resort to SFWA’s griefcom process, which finally got their attention.”
I’m sure if you asked an Amazon executive they’d claim surprise… but they should be able to notice when such escalations are taking place & why, and identify it as a problem.
@Thorston: funnily enough, when you reduce the initial investment in committing an offence by tens of thousands, offending goes up. Digital _is_ different, as we keep on being told :). It seems there may be room for a more involved review process here.
And remember that the law does not define morality; even if Amazon were reliability meeting their DMCA obligations, that doesn’t _necessarily_ mean they should be immune from criticism.
Well, if you go to the Amazon Kindle Store and search on “Mingfeng Lai” you get a huge number of hits, including 1984 and Jane Eyre (complete with ripped off images from the movie). Many of them say “(Eagle Publication)” on them too. In any case, it seems likely that this is true.
Not everyone has a negative experience with Amazon and this issue:
Perhaps the difference is the information provided or who was contacted.
Well, duh. OBVIOUSLY this is just showing how popular the work is. The author should be FLATTERED that someone took the time to rip off his stuff and sell it under their own name. Just another kind of advertising, really.
I mean, that’s the proper anticopyright attitude, right?
Amazon is taking a chapter from eBay which has been profiting from CDs of huge collections of stolen ebooks. They get the money whether it is stolen or legit so why bother with taking down the stolen merchandise?
@Common sense. Could be. I tend to trust Stross’s ability to navigate a website though :). It also seems odd that he doesn’t mention *any* response after sending physical mail to them.
I’ve not looked for other reports — I don’t assume that Stross’s experience is the normal one. But it annoys me that they accepted an unlicensed ebook in the first place, which wouldn’t have shown up as belonging to any of the obvious rights-holders (the US publisher, the UK/world publisher, or Stross himself). They could have at least notified the author themselves, along with a link to their instructions for takedown requests.
@DD: Strawman much?
It’s really not a helpful comparison — very few people will defend willful, straight-out copyright infringement, when it’s direct commercial exploitation on the shelves of a (generally) legitimate retailer.
It’s the _retailer’s_ position that’s really under debate here. See e.g. Marilynn above (and the converse position that Amazon are often responsive to takedowns, aren’t doing anything illegal, and so don’t deserve any criticism).
Quote: “Well, if you go to the Amazon Kindle Store and search on “Mingfeng Lai” you get a huge number of hits, including 1984 and Jane Eyre (complete with ripped off images from the movie).”
Someone at Amazon must have gotten the word about this. I tried searching several ways and only got two hits on Mingfeng Lai as an author. Bizarrely (I’ve noticed this happening before), the search gave me the message: “Your search “Mingfeng Lai” did not match any products in: Books › Kindle Edition” but Amazon then went on to display two results from “All Product Categories” that were described as the Kindle eBook editions of The Great Gatsby and Muscle Building Mania, with both listing as being by Mingfeng Lai. Amazon both knows and doesn’t know a book is a Kindle edition. Weird.
This may be less malice or greed than simply an illustration of the wall that Amazon (like many other giant corporations) has erected to keep queries and complaints from flooding in. A Google search, however, did turn up this important information:
Amazon.com’s Copyright Agent for notice of claims of copyright infringement on its site can be reached as follows:
Amazon.com Legal Department
P.O. Box 81226
Seattle, WA 98108
phone: (206) 266-4064
fax: (206) 266-7010
Amazon.com Legal Department
410 Terry Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109-5210
The link gives the information they want you to provide for them.
–Michael W. Perry
“…few people will defend willful, straight-out copyright infringement, when it’s direct commercial exploitation on the shelves of a (generally) legitimate retailer.”
Plenty of people will defend willful, straight-out copyright infringement. Why is it that suddenly this is bad when someone does it for money?
Explain how the justifications for copyright infringement cannot be used to defend what’s happening in this situation.