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Topic: Reviews and copyright infringement....

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Subject: Reviews and copyright infringement....
Date Posted: 11/12/2007 3:45 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2007
Posts: 369
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Last Edited on: 9/18/13 11:13 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/12/2007 3:57 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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well you should be able to see who put the review up there and if you want to, contact them to ask that they remove them you can....however if it was me (and it's not so this probably doesn't apply) I'd just let them go.  apparently the person that copied your review must have agreed with what you had to say and felt it was what they wanted to share with others.

now I wouldn't ever copy someone else's review but could see where others might

Last Edited on: 11/12/07 9:27 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/12/2007 5:00 PM ET
Member Since: 5/29/2007
Posts: 13,347
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It seems we had this discussion before, was it the same person (Anna L)?  And she (you) contacted the person who copied your review and they apologized and took it down.

Do you want to contact people and ask them to remove or give credit?  I can't imagine that R&R could take this on.  They would need to spend time verifying sources for the purpose of, well, you and your copyright issues.  I can't speak for them, of course, I'm not involved in this site at all, just saying I can't imagine they have time and money to police your reviews. 

I think this is sounding snarky and I do apologize.  I'm not feeling well today, so this may not be coming out as kindly as I hoped, but while I respect copyright issues and would never myself plagerize without giving credit, I don't know what is to be done.

OTOH, I would be pretty annoyed myself and totally get why you are.  My two cents, since you asked, are to contact folks directly, explain, ask for the review to be removed or proper credit given (whatever you want to happen).  If, after that, folks persist in infringing, then maybe R&R could be contacted with a list of copied reviews, a list of sources, and copies of PM's.  Perhaps after you've done your part, and provide them with the research, so they don't have to do it themselves, they may take action.  Again, I have never had contact with R&R, just giving my thoughts and opinions. 

Date Posted: 11/12/2007 5:15 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,817
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This confuses me, to tell you the truth.         It was/is my understand that something written in the public domain can not be copywritten.   If I put a review on this site, it's not copywritten, why should one be on Amazon?

I understand how you feel about it Anna.  I am just questioning the statement that something on a public forum can be copywritten.   My son's FIL is a copywrite/patent attorney.   Next time I see him it'll make for an interesting question.

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 11/12/2007 5:37 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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IIRC as long as the source is cited, using a previously-published review is ok.  If I were you, I'd be tempted to ask the perps (LOL) to add your name and the copyright info on their reviews, or to remove them.

(I once had someone (a co worker)  publish a photograph of some genomic DNA I had made from corn and claim it as their own.  I was majorly pizzed!  Barbara McClintock had told me that my genomic DNA "was the prettiest genomic sample she had ever seen."  I was dang proud of that photo!)


Date Posted: 11/12/2007 5:51 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2007
Posts: 369
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Thanks for the thoughts, ladies.  I'm trying Leslie's approach, to avoid bothering R&R. 

Julie, wasn't me!  I just noticed it last night and today.  You don't sound snarky to me, I appreciate the input.  :-)

Cozette, LMK what he has to say, I'd be curious.  According to what I know, nothing is in the public domain unless it explicitly says it is (a note from the author/owner/creator saying "I grant this to the public domain", basically).  Otherwise, anything you create is protected by copyright.  Whether you write it here, on Amazon, on your blog or in your diary, YOU own the copyright until you give it away.  The only reason I know any of this is that Amazon tries to lay claim to ownership of all reviews posted there, so I looked into it some.

Works with no commercial value (like the reviews in question) aren't likely to end up in a legal battle or anything like that, for me it's just the time and effort that I put into my reviews has a personal value and to have it copied and presented as someone else's work is... well, annoying. 


Date Posted: 11/12/2007 6:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2005
Posts: 3,730
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I don't see the big idea, then again I'm not in your shoes. People just probably want to give they best info they can about the book and your review did it. It's about the book, not the review itself.

Date Posted: 11/12/2007 6:45 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2007
Posts: 369
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L - I was majorly pizzed!  I feel for you, especially since work would be more important than my reviews!

You're right, Ashley, it's not a big deal. 

Part of it is this - a review isn't a place to post information about the book, it's where you post your personal thoughts and opinions about the book.  My thinking is that for a review to be good, it should contain the word "I" at least once: "I liked it because..." "I hate the main character's attitude...".  Without that, it's not a review, it's just a recap - which belongs under "Book Description". 

So I spend a good deal of time looking for the words to express what I, personally, found in the book.  Even when I hate a book, I write what I think are the best and worst parts of the book and the final product of my effort is my review, my thoughts.  Sometimes my thoughts are insightful, sometimes my wording is just perfect, sometimes my review sucks - but I created it, I worked on it, I put in the effort.  I'm proud of what I've created.  I don't like someone else taking my work and, essentially, presenting it as their own.

The only thing I can compare it to is writing an essay for school and then having someone else steal it and turn it in first, as their work.  Not the end of the world, and not likely to end up in court, but wrong nonetheless.  Especially if they get an A and YOU look like the one who copied!  LOL! 

I do see why someone else might see it as petty and why it wouldn't matter to some folks.  That's why I came here for everyone's thoughts!

Date Posted: 11/12/2007 9:27 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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hopefully those you contact will agree to either take it down or give you credit, seems like the easiest solution!

Date Posted: 11/13/2007 7:25 AM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2006
Posts: 1,691
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I pulled this from the Help Pages under Conditions of Use.  The bottom of all the Amzon.com pages has an Amazon.com copyright date.  I would imagine that a user submitted review falls under the "text" portion of this description below.  And if not under "text" user reviews would fall under "compliations of all content on this site".

I read that as you give up your right to publish your own essay / book review anywhere else if you've already submitted it to Amazon.  Sorry.

Is there a way to pull your reviews from Amazon?  Or you could find another outlet for your reviews?  The neighborhood or campus paper?  I think you're passionate about your reviews (and who wouldn't be?) and you will find somewhere else to publish them where you can have control, if that's what you want.  As for the PBS users not understanding that they can't just pull reviews from anywhere they find them, it seems that they violated Amazon, not the reviewer.



All content included on this site, such as text, graphics, logos, button icons, images, audio clips, digital downloads, data compilations, and software, is the property of Amazon or its content suppliers and protected by United States and international copyright laws. The compilation of all content on this site is the exclusive property of Amazon and protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. All software used on this site is the property of Amazon or its software suppliers and protected by United States and international copyright laws.

Date Posted: 11/13/2007 8:54 AM ET
Member Since: 5/17/2007
Posts: 3,129
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Anna, are you okay with someone using your review as long as you are listed as the writer?  I admit that I have used the reviews of others when I have posted a book that I have not read but I always give credit to the reviewer by using their name at the end.   I can certainly understand your displeasure with someone who passes off the review as their own.

Date Posted: 11/13/2007 8:55 AM ET
Member Since: 11/13/2005
Posts: 661
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No, that Amazon statement doesn't give up the copyright ownership.  The copyright on the review itself is still held by "its content cupplier" (unless there has been some agreement to the contrary with the author).  The copyright on the compilation of the whole Amazon page and the whole Amazon site is held by amazon.

Compilation refers to something like an anthology of short stories by different authors.  The different authors (or their assigns) can own the copyrights on the individual stories.  They have granted the editor/publisher of the anthology the right to make a copy of the work in the anthology.  The editor/publisher of the anthology owns the copyright on the compilation (combination) of all the stories in a single work..

Date Posted: 11/13/2007 2:00 PM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
Posts: 5,034
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Maybe you could include a line in the  middle of your review between paragraphs such as:

(This review writting by _______________  on Nove 13, 2007)

Rest of paragraphs down below.

That way if they copy/paste that would be included (if they didn't delete that line, that is).

Date Posted: 11/13/2007 4:05 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2007
Posts: 369
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I think you're passionate about your reviews 

That sounds so much nicer than "crazy on this subject" (the DH's phrase, lol).  When I started reviewing, I did it because I was appalled by Amazon's penny books... a book, for a penny?  Sure, as a buyer that sounds great.  As a seller, it stinks.  As a book lover... what in the world does that say about us, that we value books so little???  So I started reviewing penny books or books that had no review at all, hoping that a review would help sell a book or bring the value up. 

NOW, I do it because love reviewing.  It makes me look harder at what I read, and notice more.  I've even had the joy of finding a couple wonderful books that no one had yet reviewed... felt like I had found a secret pot of gold!  Since I feel like PBSers actually value books more than many of my Amazon customers, it seems only right to share the reviews here.  If I didn't have to make a living, I think I'd rather TRADE all my books than sell them, because this is much more comfortable fit for me than the river! 

Bret is right, it's just the compilation that Amazon owns.  I thought about blogging my reviews, but getting blog traffic is hard and I like getting stars (even one) and thumbs (even down) too much!

Cindy, yes, that's okay with me!  It's even a little flattering!  :-)  And, Lita...thanks!  Wow, that's so simple an idea I feel like a total nitwit for not thinking of it myself.  I may never backtrack to the old ones, but I'll fit it into the new ones.  If people DO delete it, at least I'll know they had to make a concious decision to do that! 

Date Posted: 11/13/2007 4:18 PM ET
Member Since: 9/30/2006
Posts: 7,322
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That Amazon statement sounds a little ambiguous to me.  First they state that all this stuff is the property of Amazon or its continet suppliers, which I would take to mean you.  Then they say all content is the exclusive property of Amazon and intimate that it is under their copyright.  Hmmm.  I am not a lawyer who knows this stuff, but does anyone else see the ambiguity here? It will indeed be interesting to see what Cozette comes up with.

Edit:  I guess I should have read the rest of the postings before I submitted my thoughts.  I guess I was out in the ozone somewhere!  Glad to know my opinion is shared by others!  :)

Last Edited on: 11/13/07 4:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/13/2007 4:53 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2007
Posts: 369
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It's not ambiguous at all.  They don't say all content is the exclusive property of Amazon.  They say all content belongs to them or their content suppliers (reviewers,etc) and the compilation of the content belongs to them.  Bret's example of an anthology is perfect.

Here's another way to look at it - you and I own the posts we've typed on this thread.  PBS owns the forum and the compilation of our words.  PBS's ownership of the forum does not trump our ownership of our own words, they only own the forum itself.  We can repost our own words here in other places, but we cannot replicate the entire forum.

In fact, I just realized, it's superbly clear -  Amazon, by default, states that my reviews and my ownership of them are protected by US and international copyright laws!

All content included on this site, such as text, graphics, logos, button icons, images, audio clips, digital downloads, data compilations, and software, is the property of Amazon or its content suppliers and protected by United States and international copyright laws.

The compilation of all content on this site is the exclusive property of Amazon and protected by U.S. and international copyright laws.

Date Posted: 11/13/2007 5:00 PM ET
Member Since: 5/17/2007
Posts: 3,129
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Anna!  I just skimmed several pages of your voluminous reviews and you can be justifiably proud of them!  Shoot...they are more entertaining reading than several novels I've tried to get through this year!  They are engaging, entertaining and well-written.  Excellent work!