05 November 2003

Still More Amazon Antics
After over a week, I finally was able to get Amazon to take down some copyright violations in its "search inside the book" feature (see discussion beginning on 28 October). Now the fun begins.

   Many of my clients do not write strictly at book length; they instead write short fiction, poetry, articles, etc. These are often later collected (that is, put into book form along with other material by the same author) or anthologized (put into book form along with other material by other authors). That week-long struggle was for one book including works by one client. That client alone has over 30 other books listed on Amazon that include his short works, most of which appear to be included in the "search inside the book" feature. Thus, I'll get to use my own sample takedown letter at lot over the next week.

   What this really points out more than anything else is that S&M dorks don't care about legalities. Only someone who had no familiarity with Tasini (PDF, 130kb) could have conceived of this program, or at least conceived of it without running immediately to the legal department for advice. (That goes for you, too, Google and B&N; don't think my clients and I are not watching.) Instead, because getting a solid legal review might have derailed this neato idea before it started, whoever came up with it probably started lots of planning in an effort, whether conscious or not, to build so much momentum that it could not be easily derailed by some crummy lawyer "who doesn't understand sales in the first place." The hesitations in discussions with various people have been rather revealing in that regard. Not revealing in the sort of way that is admissible in court, or that a jury might pay attention to; but revealing in ways that those of us experienced in extracting information from unenthusiastic/uncooperative interviewees might note.