The founder of the small tech book publisher No Starch Press has accused Amazon of selling counterfeit copies of his books. Incredibly, many of the counterfeits appear to be printed on demand by Amazon itself.
Amazon itself isn't technically the instigator of the counterfeiting, but they do make it extremely easy for counterfeiters to have their fakes printed on demand and then sold on Amazon using Amazon's own print-on-demand service.
But since Amazon doesn't proactively monitor the content being published and sold via this service, it's up to copyright owners to identify and report abusers. And by the time they do, the damage has already been done, since small publishers like No Starch Press operate at low volume and with small margins where every sale counts.
Amazon themselves have admitted they have a counterfeit problem, but it's not clear exactly what they're doing about it or whether they see it as a major priority.
At what point should Amazon be held liable for the damage they're doing to publishers and manufacturers whose sales are being cannibalized by counterfeits? Or the damage they're doing to consumers who unknowingly purchase counterfeit products Amazon's own website recommends?
Should the countries Amazon does business in try to tackle this problem with legislation? Or should Amazon be left to their own devices to try to figure out a solution?
📷 Comparison of a legit No Starch Press book (top) and a fake (bottom) by @billpollock on Twitter.