Have any of you ever received an email such as this one? If so, you’ve likely been in the same position as me. Your own work was stolen and published on Amazon in one way or another and Amazon dutifully replied that they would remove the work ASAP.
Well, in my case that was complete and utter bullshit.
If you look at the date of the email it was back in August. It also wasn’t the first email they had replied to. They promised multiple times that my novel would be taken down and that the matter was solved, always closing with “We trust this brings the matter to a close.” It would have brought the matter to a close if they’d actually taken my novel off the site, but they didn’t. I didn’t have the money for a lawyer, I didn’t think the person who posted the stolen novel had made any money off of it since I caught it so soon, and so I was really nothing to Amazon, wasn’t I? They had no real reason to do as they said.
I guess that I should maybe back up a bit. I don’t want the title of this post to be misleading, after all. To start with here are the three things you need to do to get your novel stolen.
- Write a novel. Be sure to work REALLY hard on it. I’m sorry for those of you who aren’t writers, but you can’t have your novel stolen if you haven’t written one yet. (The good news is that you can have your car stolen at any time so you don’t need to worry about missing out in the overall experience.)
- Post it somewhere online. My personal suggestion is FIctionPress.com as that was where I had my novel stolen, but you can use WordPress, Storywrite, Quizilla, Wattpad; any of them would work.
- Just sit back and relax. It shouldn’t take too long for an unscrupulous individual to come along and lift your novel word for word before publishing it on Amazon along with 14 or 15 other pieces that were clearly stolen. Don’t worry, though. All those character names you worked hard on to make sure they fit your story? Yeah, they’ll replace those with really bad sounding names. In that regard, your story is safe.
You can just bookmark this page and come back to it once your novel has been stolen. Afterwards, you can go on a wild goose-hunt on the Amazon website trying to find the correct link to report copyright infringement. I can’t give you advice for how to do this because between the first few times I reported my stolen novel and the last few times they changed how you report it. Or at least they said they did. You never know with those tricksy copyright agents.
Once that’s all done you’ll have 4-7 months to complain to everyone you’re close to about how a novel you wrote ended up for sale on Amazon. Admittedly, anyone who doesn’t write isn’t going to know why this is a big deal so your best bet might be to join a Facebook group or something. Maybe your local librarians will hear you out.
Finally, for those of you who don’t speak copyright agent, I’ve translated the letter above to more accurately reflect what they were trying to say.
Hope that clears everything up. As a note, not everyone will get as much fun from this experience. Most of the other novels that were reported stolen were taken down within the 2-3 day period. I had every bit of evidence possible that my novel was indeed mine and they kept sending these “Yes we’re taking it down” letters. I have no clue why it took from July to January to finally take it down. I hope anyone in the same position has better luck than me.