The Mad Geniuses — Genii? — are moving slowly today after a week of hard work. (Hey, it’s hard trying to figure out how to take over the publishing world.) So we’re throwing the doors open and inviting everyone to post your thoughts/questions/considerations about the publishing world. The floor is yours! Have fun.
I’ve been giving away my book for free from my website (www.scottjrobinson.com) but this week it has been put up on Amazon in the US and the UK by persons unknown and is being sold.
I say in the book that it can be given away for free as long as no changes are made– do I also need to say that it can’t be sold? Is there anything else I should have done?
My first response is to say no. There isn’t much more you could have done, short of putting in DRM, to have prevented it. Frankly, even if you had applied DRM, it is easy to break in most instances and only waves a red flag, daring folks to try.
But my second and more reasoned response is to say, yes, you do need to say your book can’t be sold by others without your express written permission. This is sort of like the stand Baen takes with regard to the CDs it places in some of its print books. Baen is quick to encourage folks to copy the CDs and give them away. They are good promos for Baen and its authors. However, in the disclaimers for the CDs, Baen also says they may not be sold.
I’m sure you downloaded at least a sample of the book in question to make sure it was your book and not just one with the same title. If you have, and it proved to be your book, I hope you have been in touch with Amazon (I’m assuming this was put up in the kindle store). My experience has shown them to be very quick to address issues of possible copyright infringement. If you haven’t talked with Amazon yet, do so ASAP.
Just a thought — as I remember, the OpenCourseWare license was pretty specific about “we’re making it available for free use for these purposes, and for anything else, you must get in touch with us and negotiate.” That way if someone dreams up yet another way to use it, you’re still covered.
I have checked the sample and it is my book. Has my cover and everything so whoever did it isn’t trying to claim that they wrote it or anything. And yes, I have contacted both Amazons and haven’t heard from them yet.
I guess I’ll be adding a ‘Don’t sell this’ comment in the front of the book too.
Scott, what you might try is having Amazon Kindle call you. That may be quicker than waiting for the KDP folks to get back with you. I’ve found the usual delay time for KDP is anywhere from 24 to 48 hours if the question I’m asking is something they don’t handle on a daily basis. Even if the kindle customer care folks can’t help you, they may be able to expedite the contact with the kdp folks. Hopefully, you’ll get it taken care of soon.