Has my copyright been infringed??

If you are worried about infringement or your work has been copied and you want to take action.
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Richardmilton
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Has my copyright been infringed??

Post by Richardmilton » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:43 am

Hello,

I'm a British writer based in the United Kingdom. I have contracted with a US publishers to publish a US edition of a book already published in the UK. The US publisher has listed the US version for sale on Amazon dot com. But he has also listed the U.S. edition for sale on Amazon dot co dot uk, whose servers are located in Dublin, Ireland.

His action may, of course, be carelessness, or a simple mistake. But I now wish to republish the book in the UK and list it for sale on Amazon uk which is likely to cause some confusion.

Has the U.S. publisher infringed my copyright by listing his American version on Amazon uk? Am I entitled to ask him to remove his listing?

Any advice will be much appreciated.

Richard Milton

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:26 pm

Hi Richard,

It will al depend on the publishing agreement that you concluded with the US publisher. Did it mention the territory in which the US publisher had rights? Technically speaking if there is a US edition (perhaps 'translated' into American English) then unless the publishing contract stipulated otherwise, I don't think they are likely to be barred from selling the US edition to UK or Irish customers via a website. The situation has some similarities to selling DVDs which are regionally coded, but of course in the case of your book, there is no technical barrier to a UK reader accessing the US edition.

If there was no mention of territory in the agreement, a court would have to decide what the parties to the agreement meant to happen, which of course could go either way. That is to say the US publisher might have thought you weren't restricting his market, whereas you may have assumed that you were. I think the fact that you already have a UK publisher suggests that your intention was only to licence them for publication within the USA (or possibly another territory such as North America, or both North and South America), but clearly not the UK. On that basis there is no need to list the US edition of the book on Amazon.co.uk. However of course this may have been done by Amazon, rather than the US publisher.

I think you need to have a discussion with your US publisher and make sure he understands what you have authorised. Ultimately if he doesn't co-operate then, yes, technically you could sue him for infringing your distribution right, per Article 4 of the InfoSoc Directive. The caselaw on this would support the contention that advertising on a .co.uk site, with the price in pounds would amount to making the work available to UK customers.
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Post by Richardmilton » Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:47 pm

Hello Andy,

That is extremely helpful - thank you very much. One detail - you mention that it coud be Amazon US who listed the book on their UK site - do you have any knowledge of this happening?

Once again many thanks
Richard

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Post by AndyJ » Tue Mar 14, 2017 5:08 pm

Hi Richard,

No, I don't have any evidence that Amazon do this, but they are renown for their business acumen, so I could envisage someone deciding that the book would reach a wider English-speaking readership by listing it on the .uk domain. As you are probably aware there is a listing for Shattering the Myths of Darwinism* on the amazon.com.au site albeit with none in stock and a different cover to those listed on the .co.uk site. The amazon.ca site lists the Park Street Press edition with the cream coloured dust cover - I am assuming this is the Amercian edition you mentioned.
Ebay.co.uk do something similar unless the used restricts their search to a particular country or region.

*Apologies if I have latched onto the wrong book, but it illustrates my point.
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Post by Richardmilton » Tue Mar 14, 2017 5:55 pm

Hello Andy,

Many thanks, again. You have indeed identified the title I was writing about. :D I think a polite conversation with the US is called for!

Richard

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