Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Amazon and Copyright

I wonder how many people have read the small print and realise that Amazon owns the copyright on all reviews on their site? For some time, people have wondered why reviews for their books have suddenly gone missing. Sometimes, even the books have vanished, particularly if published to Kindle (but possibly not exclusively). A violation is the probable answer.

You cannot/must not copy a review from Amazon and use it word for word on your own website or in your own promotion. Do not review someone's book and use the same text on Amazon and Goodreads, for example. Amazon's bots will discover the clone and may react by wiping the Amazon version or the book, or your account if you are publisher.

I have received several references to this over the last few weeks. Many people have tried to argue with Amazon, but none have changed their policy so far. This may happen in the future, of course - but at present it's wise to avoid breaking Amazon's terms of service.

Two of my sources of information are Aggie Villanueva:  (a potentially useful website), and the advertising for a product:

All best wishes

Peter Taylor
Dont forget, I'll be hosting Sally Murphy and Sonia Kretschmar on March 6 ...look inside Sonia's studio - write a comment to go into the draw for a copy of 'Do Not Forget Australia'.


Sally_Odgers said...

That's interesting, Peter. It's a problem for reviewers, perhaps, but I'd be quite glad to see the end of cloned reviews. Someone reviewed one of my books and got the character name wrong and I kept ON seeing that review in venue after venue. Worse still, other reviewers caught the infection, meaning (to my mind) they didn't read my book to review it, but just cribbed from that existing ubiquitous review.

Peter Taylor - Author and Illustrator said...

Many thanks for visiting and for your thoughts, Sally. I can see all sides of this. I am not a regular reviewer and there never seem to be enough hours in the day, so when I do write one for a friend's book, I compose it in a word processing program and just want to paste it in two or three places to help boost sales. If the review is attributed correctly, I don't see why this should be a major problem.

For others to copy the review and use it as their own is obviously a breach of the review author's copyright and wrong, and it does show that the individual probably hasn't read the work, as your faulty character's name references indicate. Readers soon recognise this. Reviewers like that do the book's author a disservice, too. The cloned review becomes as impersonal as the publisher's blurb, which readers recognise as advertising and may read once to discover the book's content, but will skip when discovered on every site visited. Cloned reviews may also dissuade visitors from reading others on the site.