I know that one of the traps you can fall into as an Amazon seller is infringing on a copyright. This is something that can deal a big blow to your business.
Through my years of avoiding copyright infringements and dealing with a couple, I’ve learned the ins and outs of navigating this situation.
My goal in this article is to walk you through the entire process of how to remove a copyright infringement on Amazon.
How to Remove Copyright Infringement on Amazon
According to the U.S. Copyright Office, copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner.
Infringement claims can destroy the reputation of any seller, as well as threaten their business on Amazon. If you’ve received one, it is important to resolve these accusations promptly to help you maintain a positive reputation and standing with Amazon.
What Is Amazon Copyright Infringement?
With over 9.7 million sellers, Amazon ranks as one of the biggest e-commerce platforms in the world today. As can be expected, numbers this high increase the risks of infringement on the platform. Copyright infringement on Amazon can occur when a seller offers a copyrighted product for sale without proper authorization from the copyright owner.
It can also occur when you use text, images, videos, or product descriptions that another seller or brand exclusively owns without crediting the copyright owner. Amazon takes intellectual property rights seriously, and the consequences it imposes on those found guilty include:
- Removing the listing from your page
- Suspending or deactivating your seller account
- Holding on to your sales proceeds until the problem is resolved
Copyright infringement also puts you at the risk of facing legal action from the copyright holder. Such legal issues can be time-consuming and financially draining, so you want to avoid them as well as you can. A copyright lawyer can offer you professional assistance with the appeal process, helping you get your account back on track.
How to Remove a Copyright Strike on Amazon
Similar to if you’ve been reported for patent infringement, if you’re facing a copyright infringement notice on Amazon, you do not need to panic. Although it might seem challenging, this situation can be resolved quickly. Here’s how to address a copyright strike on your Amazon seller account:
Check the Notice Validity
Sometimes, infringement notices can be sent in error or without proper grounds. Therefore, the first thing to do upon receiving a copyright infringement complaint is to review it to determine its validity. Understand the specific claims against your product listing, then check the copyrighted work in question and compare it to yours to confirm if there’s any infringement.
If you determine that your product does not infringe the copyrighted material, you can contact the rights owner to retract the claim or prepare a counter-notice. However, if your product listing infringes on the copyright, your next step should be to draft a Plan of Action.
Prepare a Plan of Action
If the infringement notice is valid, draft a Plan of Action (POA) where you acknowledge and take responsibility for the infringement. Explain why it happened, the steps to resolve it, and the measures you will implement to prevent future infringements. Also include evidence to back up your claims, such as screenshots, images, product IDs, and listing URLs.
Ensure that your POA is focused on solving the problem as quickly as possible, as Amazon only considers three to four responses per appeal. Emphasize your commitment to Amazon policies to show them you take the infringement seriously. Once the appeal is ready, submit it to Amazon through the Amazon Seller Central portal and await their response.
Prepare a Counter-Notice
As mentioned earlier, if you are confident that it is invalid after reviewing the infringement claim, your next move is to ask the rights owner to retract it. If they refuse, you may go ahead to write a counter-notice.
Before doing this, gather all evidence that shows your product is not infringing on copyright. This could include invoices, images, or other documents that prove your innocence. Then, write a letter stating that you have been wrongly accused of copyright infringement.
It should be written according to Amazon’s guidelines to prevent your counter-notice from getting declined. While a copyright attorney can help with this, here are a few elements the letter should contain:
- Your name, address, phone number, and email
- A copy of the original infringement notice
- A statement expressing your sincere belief that the complaint was filed incorrectly or without the right justification
- An explanation of the reasons the claim is invalid, backed by evidence where possible
- A statement that, if the copyright owner decides to take legal action, you consent to the authority of the court where the initial complaint was filed
- Your signature
How Do You Prevent Future Infringements?
If your copyright has been infringed upon, it is crucial to continuously monitor and address the real value of intellectual property concerns to prevent future infringements. Proactive measures, such as regularly reviewing product listings and addressing potential issues promptly, are crucial for ongoing compliance.
How Do I Submit a Plan of Action to Amazon for Copyright Infringement Issues?
You can submit your Plan of Action to Amazon directly through the Amazon Seller Central portal or by emailing it to Amazon’s Plan of Action team. Ensure that you follow Amazon’s guidelines when writing your POA and follow the established process for submission. If not, Amazon may decline your POA.
What Happens After I Submit My Plan of Action on Amazon?
After submitting your POA, Amazon’s Plan of Action team will review the letter and get back to you with their decision. If your Plan of Action is accepted, then you can go ahead to execute your proposed resolution. If it is declined, however, you may need to rewrite the letter and resubmit it.
Can I Contact the Copyright Owner After an Infringement Claim on Amazon?
Yes, you can contact the rights owner after an infringement claim on Amazon. Typically, the infringement notice you receive will contain the contact details of the rights owner. If you believe that the claim was made in error, you can reach out to them and ask them to retract the claim with Amazon.
Facing a copyright strike on Amazon is no small deal. However, an organized and thorough approach can help you navigate the situation successfully. Following the steps above will help you remove the copyright strike from your seller account. For further and professional assistance, hire the services of a copyright attorney.