How to send Amazon a Copyright (DMCA) Complaint

April 15th, 2016 by Chris

Amazon has a web form for copyright notifications located here:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/reports/infringement

Don’t bother using it, seriously don’t bother. Now, I know many of my readers will not ever have a need for this because your copyrights are on content, not products, but products get copied too. Perhaps less often, perhaps that is the problem.

Amazon’s employees seem to me to be either willfully ignorant or woefully untrained as to the legal requirements put on them by the DMCA. I’m thoroughly convinced their web form is a time wasting smoke screen. Do you remember the TV show Lost? The Dharma Initiative had a monitoring station were people were supposed to watch something and record notes, they would put the notes in canisters and shoot them up an air tube like at a bank teller window. Later it was discovered this tube lead to a pile in the jungle – no one was reading the notes. This might be preferable to Amazon’s situation.

Regretfully as my business has expanded into tangible products I have had need to send DMCA notifications to Amazon, and I have used this form, and I have never had good service. Just about every single time they send me back a reply asking for idiotic additional information. Such as, and I quote:

Thank you for your message. If you have issues related to patent or design rights, please submit a notice of patent infringement using the contact information below.

In your notice, include:

1. The relevant patent numbers.
2. Your contact information
3. The ASIN(s) of the item(s) in question, located on a product’s detail page under the heading, “Product Details.”

Submit your notice to:

Amazon.com Legal Department
ATTN: Patents Team
P.O. Box 81226
Seattle, WA 98108
E-mail: patents@amazon.com
Fax: (206) 266-7010

Courier address:
Amazon.com Legal Department
ATTN: Patents Team
410 Terry Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109-5210

No Amazon, I sent you a copyright notification, I don’t have a patent question. I very clearly said copyright, multiple times, and I was filling out a copyright form. This was, by the way, my second attempt in three days, the first attempt got this wonderful response.

Thank you for the information you have provided in your infringement complaint. However, we still need additional details regarding the items listed at the end of this message.

Before we can respond to your complaint, we ask that you clarify how these items infringe your rights by re-submitting your complaint with your answers to these questions:

1. Are you the manufacturer?
2. Do you believe the offers in your complaint do not match the product detail pages?
3. Do you believe that your trademark appears on products that you do not manufacturer?
4. Do you believe that your trademark is used inappropriately on the product detail pages?
5. Have you placed test orders? If yes, be sure to provide the Amazon order numbers.

You can re-submit your complaint using our online form located in the “Notice and Procedure for Making Claims of Infringement” section of our “Conditions of Use and Sale” page (http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/reports/infringement). You may use the Additional Comments field to provide your answers to the questions.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Seller Performance
Amazon.com

Now, I’ve been through this rigamarole before, for some reason they have this fetish for asking “are you a manufacturer” as if the DMCA act has a carve out where Online Service Providers are only obligated to act if a manufacturer sends in a notification. A DMCA notification is a legal document, the sender swears under penalty of perjury they own the legal rights to something, that is all that is required. But yes, I am a manufacturer. So in my original complaint to them, I said, twice, “We are a manufacturer.” So, I go back to the poorly trained employee thought, they are just that bad at reading comprehension?

Then they’re asking about trademark issues, which is just like the first message I quoted above, I say copyright, I’m on the copyright form, and they think I want to complain about trademark. When someone tries to sell a bootleg DVD of Frozen on Amazon does Disney have this trouble? Probably not. They do probably mostly get trademark complaints from places like luxury brands (Gucci, Prada, etc). But when someone is filling out the form for copyright, and say copyright, they probably mean copyright, right?

I’ve even personally got a pretty big gun, a registered copyright. In the US technically every creative work is copyrighted once it enters a fixed form, but if you register your copyrights you can get larger damages in a lawsuit. So when I’m sending in these complaints I send in my US Copyright Registration Number – they can literally look it up at the Library of Congress website and see my copyright filing – and they still ask me about trademarks and patents?

I got this other reply once…

Based on the information you provided in your complaint, we are unable to remove the listings you noted from these detail pages:

ASIN: (redacted)

Amazon respects a manufacturer’s right to enter into exclusive distribution agreements for its products. However, as the enforcement of these agreements is a matter of contract between the manufacturer and the distributors, it would not be appropriate for Amazon to assist in enforcing these agreements.

They thought I was complaining about some sort of contract dispute when I filled out a copyright claim form. It is almost as if the people they hire to answer these complaints have no legal training at all. They don’t realize products other than books, music, and movies can be copyrighted.

This is another one, from last fall.

Hello,

Thank you for your e-mail. Amazon respects a manufacturer’s right to institute policies and rules to manage and control the distribution of its products. However, Amazon considers the enforcement of these policies and rules to be a matter between the manufacturer and the retailers. As a result, it would not be appropriate for Amazon to assist in such enforcement activities.

We do not consider the use of a product’s name to sell that product to in any way constitute copyright or trademark infringement. However, if you believe any of your images or product information is being misused in a way that constitutes copyright infringement, please let us know which listings are of concern.

What you can do

Contact any seller directly though Amazon.ca’s website:

1. Select their storefront name
2. Click on the ‘contact this seller’ link in the lower right-hand corner.

If you believe the sellers you have reported are listing items that are not what they indicate them to be and have proof you’d like to share with us, reply to this message and let us know.

Include this information in your report, as relevant:

1. Explanation of the differences between the item description and what is advertised
2. Evidence in the item’s images or product descriptions that do not match what is being advertised
3. Amazon.ca Order ID of a test buy
4. The ASIN/ISBN of the item’s detail page and the product title
5. The store or business name of the seller you are reporting
6. Any other evidence that supports your complaint

So, what actually works?

One of the parts of the DMCA has online service providers register their registered agent with the US Copyright Office, so complainants need not have to guess where to send the forms. Using any company’s web based form is a favor to them. You can send them a fax or a letter instead. The DMCA Notification Tool on this website can help you make your form, and Amazon is in our database. If you’d rather generate and send the form yourself Amazon.com’s registered agent is:

Amazon.com, Inc. and its affiliates
Adrian Garver
1200 12th Ave. South,
Suite 1200
Seattle, WA 98144
Phone: (206) 266-4064
fax:(206) 266-7010
copyright@amazon.com

If you really want to get their attention registered mail or a courier with signature required is the way. If they then do not act, and you do have a valid copyright complaint. Get your lawyer ready, you can sue Amazon for copyright infringement (and they have deep pockets), if you have a registered copyright like mine and can show they acted willfully (and after so many ignored complaints, willfully would be an understatement) you can get punitive damages of $25,000 or more per product, and then get what is called treble damages (tripling). So, even more. Plus actual economic damages, court, and legal costs. But I have always had success with faxing this department.

So skip the web form. Make up our DMCA notification and fax it to Amazon, that is the best way to get a result.

2 Responses to “How to send Amazon a Copyright (DMCA) Complaint”

  1. Maanikamili  Says:

    Excellent goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too excellent. I actually like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you are stating and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it sensible. I can not wait to read far more from you. This is actually a tremendous site..

  2. Sandeep Goswami  Says:

    Even though this post is a little old one, but still needs to be promoted as there are lots of copyright laws been abused on a daily basis. I can show like 10 such examples in no time. People really need to report these. I’ll share this on my personal blog. Please come up with more such posts. Appreciate it.

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