I got an email back from ACX today. I removed the name of the representative, but here is what the person wrote:
I am sorry to hear that one of your works is being sold on Audible without your consent. We take claims of copyright and piracy issues very seriously.
As part of the Amazon family, any reports of Copyright issues should be sent to Amazon directly. Please go to https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=508088 and view the section “Notice and Procedure for Making Claims of Copyright Infringement” for the information and form to complete to report infringement.
Please let us know if there is anything additional we can assist with.If you need more help, contact us, we’re here from 9am to 7pm ET, Mon-Fri.
Have a nice afternoon and take care!
So I followed the link, and after going to another link and I think one more, I finally got to the form I needed to fill out. I find it amazing (in a bad way) that they make theft so EASY on the scammer, but they make it HARD for the innocent party to report the theft.
A quick rant about exclusivity on Amazon:
I’ve had readers ask me when I’ll be in KU (Kindle Unlimited). The answer is NEVER. I will never ever in a million years put any of my books in KU unless they remove their exclusive restrictions. I will never be exclusive to Amazon. Amazon has given me the runaround on protecting my own work since 2011. Words can’t describe how upset I am with Amazon. They never should link up books from their site to ACX if they are NOT going to respect copyright infringement claims over there.
Plus, their copyright infringement form is not easy to figure out. I had to tell everyone in my house to leave me alone for a good 30 minutes while I waded my way through the process. But all someone has to do on ACX is click a little checkbox saying they have the rights to my book, and within a second, they can claim it as theirs. I am fed up. This is complete and utter nonsense.
I don’t care how many readers will only read KU books. To me, the money lost is not worth it. I will get a job outside the house before I join KU. I know some authors are afraid to speak up against Amazon because Amazon might hurt their sales by lowering visibility over on their site, but what good is any of this when they are more than willing to hand over money from my work to a thief? When someone steals your book, even if you manage to get Amazon to remove it, you never get paid that money lost. I think Amazon keeps it. I don’t think they ever reimburse the people who bought the stolen book. So what has Amazon to lose if they let scammers do this crap?
The best way authors can vote against this nonsense is to avoid putting books in KU. Put your books on all retailers. Build up the competition. If the competition goes away, imagine what Amazon will be like. They’re already doing this other stuff. They make innocent authors jump through all these hoops to protect their books. To date, I have spent almost $10,000 registering the copyright on my books. That includes the registration fee, buying the two paperbacks per registration, and mailing it to the US Copyright Office. I have almost 100 books out. This stuff adds up. I never know which book the thieves will target, so I have to do this for every single book.
Alright, to filing the copyright infringement complaint on Amazon itself:
Anyway, I did fill out the form. I went to the link the ACX person sent me to:
I had to scroll all the way to the bottom to get to this:
NOTICE AND PROCEDURE FOR MAKING CLAIMS OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY INFRINGEMENT
If you believe that your intellectual property rights have been infringed, please submit your complaint using our online form. This form may be used to report all types of intellectual property claims including, but not limited to, copyright, trademark, and patent claims.
I clicked on the “form” link, and it took me to this url: https://www.amazon.com/report/infringement
Why couldn’t the ACX rep just send me directly to that link? Why make me wade through all of the other stuff to get to the form I needed? I think I know the answer. They just threw up a canned response they give everyone, whether they are claiming infringement on a trademark, a patent, copyright, etc.
Anyway, I filled out the form.
I gave them the US Copyright Registration numbers for both books, and then I added this message:
I am Ruth Ann Nordin. I wrote the two books An Unlikely Place for Love and A Most Unsuitable Earl. I have registered these books with the US Copyright Office. Someone who is going by “Leon Publishing” on your site has scammed two narrators into making audiobooks off my work. I did NOT give “Leon Publishing” my permission to do this. “Leon Publishing” has stolen my work and has done this without my permission. I ask that you remove these books. I do not hold this against the narrators. They honestly believed it was me.
Here is the link of the stolen audiobooks: https://www.audible.com/search?searchProvider=Leon+Publishing&ref=a_pd_A-Most_c1_publisher&pf_rd_p=52918805-f7fc-40f4-a76b-cf1c79f7d10a&pf_rd_r=AFGD7C0REVEVXP40MQHC
Here is the fake profile “Leon Publishing” created pretending to be me: https://www.audible.com/author/Ruth-Ann-Nordin/B002BM2VVQ?ref=a_search_c3_lAuthor_1_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6
I then linked to the direct links on Amazon in the form since they wanted the ASIN:
Stolen Audiobook direct link to Amazon for A Most Unsuitable Earl: https://www.amazon.com/Most-Unsuitable-Earl-Marriage-Scandal/dp/B08B77J33C/
Stolen Audiobook direct link to Amazon for An Unlikely Place for Love: https://www.amazon.com/Unlikely-Place-Love-Virginia-Collection/dp/B08BX7Q391/
Now, I didn’t add this in the form, but I did notice something of interest while on the audiobook description pages of the stolen audiobooks.
At the bottom, the thief put this: ©2012 Ruth Ann Nordin (P)2020 Leong Singh
I suspect that person is following my blog posts because they actually told one of the narrators that “I” decided to make audiobooks to stop the thief from stealing them. This narrator reported this incident to ACX, which I am thankful for. I think this bought me time to claim my books as soon as I realized I could do that.
Well, I am going to publicly make an announcement on this blog. I have decided to go into making audiobooks, but I’m not going to say which ones until they’re done. I have contacted two narrators who I met along the way of this whole ordeal that I decided would be wonderful people to work with. The other narrators were all great, too. But I can only handle two with my hectic schedule. On top of writing, I also have a husband and kids that need my time. So I had to choose which ones to go with. But I’m not doing it to stop people like Leong Singh. I’m doing it because I love my books and I like these two narrators, and I figured, “Why not?”
For me, this pursuit is not about money. It’s about doing something that probably will be enjoyable. Writing is why I started this. I love writing. But in the process of publishing books and getting out there, I have met some incredible people along the way. I met cover artists, editors, other authors, beta readers, readers, and now I’m meeting narrators. To me, the relationship factor of getting to know these people have been deeply rewarding. I value those relationships, and I will take on projects for the opportunity to work with wonderful people.
I am so glad to hear you will not be going Amazon exclusive. I don’t use Amazon/ KU and I have lost quite a few of my favorite authors, as they have switched. I feel sad I will not be able to keep up with my favorite characters and series, but I don’t believe one company should rule the world of books…
When Amazon introduced KU, I didn’t go in it because I personally knew some of my readers bought books on B&N and Apple. I know that authors will argue that these people can download the Kindle app and still read the author’s books, but I never felt that was right. If I want to buy something from a certain store, I don’t want to be told that I should go to a different store instead. So why would I tell my readers to do that? I kept my books wide to be fair to everyone. I still keep in touch with people who started reading my books all the way back in 2010 and 2011. That is a long time to stay with an author. I feel it’s only right that authors stay with their readers, too.
Regarding the one company thing, I hope Amazon never wipes out other book retailers. It’s something I worry about from time to time. As a customer, I’ve started moving away from Amazon and buying elsewhere whenever possible. This whole thing has left a bad taste in my mouth.
I used to use Kindle Unlimited, but it seemed that I never read the books from there. It was like paying late library fees for the same books months at a time. I became tired of that. I’m tired of Amazon Prime, and well, Amazon. I do still buy Kindle books : -)
Sadly, I don’t get to read as many books as I want, either. I buy more of them than I ever read, and I have some I got for free because authors ran a deal on Freebooksy, but it seems like I do good to read one or two a month. KU would be wasted money for me. I’m better off buying books outright.
Thank you, so glad you will never be exclusive to Amazon. I have not been able to finish books in several series because the author decided to go Amazon exclusive half-way through the series. I find it very disheartening that authors don’t take into consideration all of their readers. Why would I want half the series in one e-library, then have to purchase the rest from another vendor. I also don’t like companies dictating where I have to spend my hard earned money in order to read. It’s a shame that some authors don’t mind being dictated to either and they don’t mind losing my patronage and book reviews.
That’s terrible that you weren’t able to finish some series. If an author wants to go into KU, it’s best they do it initially. When they go wide, they should commit to wide. There should be none of this jumping back and forth as they continue to work on the series.
One thing that annoys me as an author is watching other authors treat their readers like a dollar amount. These authors go on and on about how they’re running a business and that they need to do what is best for their business. So if there’s more readers (dollars) in KU, then they need to take advantage of it. What they fail to think about is that readers aren’t dollars; they are real people who get invested in the stories they read. As an author, I get attached to my characters. They are more than words on a page to me. It’s been a thrill to find out when readers feel that same connection with my characters. It gives books personal meaning.
Authors should care enough about their readers to let them finish the series. I’m sure some KU authors didn’t like just reading that, but I like to think that books have more value than the money they produce. And readers are not dollars. It’s because of readers I’m able to keep going when things get tough, like this whole mess with ACX. Authors need to build relationships with their readers. They’d be blessed in so many ways if they did.
Okay. I better stop my rambling. I could make an entire blog post over this. 🙂
I find it funny that ACX sent you to Amazon because when I complained as a ‘paying customer’ about the theft of your books Amazon pointed at ACX and told me to report it to them. I persisted and demanded a formal complaint be filed with Amazon/Audible. I also contacted my other authors I work for so they were informed about what is going on. I’ve had one author say thanks for the heads up as they too were unaware of the theft happening.
It sounds like the people at Amazon and ACX don’t want to deal with it. it’s no wonder there are so many scams on anything connected to Amazon. God help us all if Amazon ever gets the monopoly its itching for.
I hope the authors will be able to protect their books before anyone steals them.