Author Sues Amazon And eBay For Having Used Copies Of His Books For Sale

from the please-google-first-sale-doctrine dept

Eric Goldman alerts us to yet another ridiculous lawsuit that is likely to be tossed out of court incredibly quickly. In the meantime, though, it’s worth looking at, just for the amusement factor. An author (who isn’t worth naming here) has sued both eBay and Amazon because used copies of his books are for sale on both sites. He claims that this is a violation of his copyright, and claims that this “piracy” is no different than what the music, movie and software industry faces when they see their products downloaded. Apparently, he’s never heard of the first sale doctrine, recognized by both the courts and directly within the law, allowing the legal owner of a copyrighted work to transfer that work to someone else. He also seems to be unfamiliar with the various safe harbors that would protect both eBay and Amazon from the actions of its users. But, to make it even more fun, before filing the lawsuit, he sent letters to the companies asking for half a billion dollars to shut him up. After claiming that he would clearly win a lawsuit leading other authors to sue as well, he literally says in his letter to them: “should I be compensated fairly, I will be as quiet as a church mouse…. I think [a] number in the high seven figures will be fair enough for me to suddenly catch amnesia.” If his novel writing is as unsubtle as his legal threat letters, one would be hard pressed to believe that his books sold very much either at full price, or in these “used” sales.

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Companies: amazon, ebay

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Comments on “Author Sues Amazon And eBay For Having Used Copies Of His Books For Sale”

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sonofdot says:

Re: the Countersuit

They could, and should. They should make an example of the author, and they should also press charges for extortion (a criminal matter, not a civil matter).

This suit is obviously filed pro se, since there’s no lawyer with so little sense (or knowledge of the law) to represent this moron. This case will be thrown out and never see the light of day, since the author’s arguments clearly are ignorant of (or willfully disregard) black-letter copyright law and the first sale doctrine.

The author claims to have researched the subject, but clearly hasn’t researched it much beyond how to format a legal filing.

I think the author is really fishing for a quick settlement just to get rid of him/her.

Stacie Loyd says:

Re: Re: the Countersuit

I,really don”t agree with your opinion.I hihgly beleive that dispite his convition,No one should be able to copy right his book and make prophet without his knowlege and for crying out loud giving his cut. I mean be realistic,However the case may be,it is his work and no one but Kahari should be able to take credit for it.

JTF says:

Author no stranger to scamming

If you go to this link

you will see where this author was sent to prison in 2005 for trying to run a scam that he had already written about in one of his books. After some paranoid drivel, one person comments:

“Kahari wasn’t sent to prison based on his writing. He was sent to prison because he carried out the exact scam that he wrote about, and got caught. Then he tried to claim that he was the one being scammed. The prosecutor used his book as evidence that he wasn’t unknowing of the scam. The remainder of the evidence convicted him…”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Not Quite Extortion

True, settlement negotiations are not admissible as evidence at trial. But a letter is not a negotiation, and so the letter is admissible, and hopefully will be used as evidence for some sort of sanction.

So, you’re essentially saying that negotiations can’t be conducted by letter? That sounds rather odd and implausible to me.

F.W. Brown (author) says:

author sues

I’m an author who sees my books routinely sold on Ebay and Amazon.
I for one am happy to see the sales. It enhances my sales and gets my name into the public arena.
I understand ISBNs and copyright laws. However, once the book is purchased it becomes the property of the owner who has the right to resell the book. It has nothing to do with copyright.
My books include: “Zombeast,” Hot Sand and Cold Blood,” “Cocaine Jungle.”

PidlyDink says:


His letter IS admissible, and would be even if it were part of a “settlement negotiation” thanks to the fact that he attached it (and therefore admitted it) to the complaint.

And it is a “Pro Se” filing. Never more true has the axiom “he who represents himself has a fool for a client” been so true. I know, I’ve gone pro se, and man was my client a numb nut.

This guy is hilarious. Oh, I can’t stop laughing. Make it stop.

And he admits to being a dinkus maximus at the end of the complaint! This made my day. If he’s a comic, he’s a genius, but given his past and writing ability, he’s not, and it makes it all the funnier.

Maybe he’ll try to sue for posting his “copyrighted” complaint. Oh, my side hurts. I have to stop thinking about this….

pegr says:

Asante Kahari, born Aaron Frasier, age 37, was released from prison 10/26/2007 having been convicted of check fraud in a crime more than a bit similar than one described in his “fictional” account in “The Birth of a Criminal”.

For added laugh-out-loud goodness, Google “Stupid Criminal Asante Kahari” for details…

Frasier is a two-bit punk hustler and will likely be back in prison before Christmas. Word up!

His Federal inmate-finder record:

I can’t find a photo yet… Zat him on the cover of the book? 😉

Tim says:

I see Aaron Fraser is at it again (his real name). I can’t help but wonder if he may be the person who advertised the book on Amazon in the first place. Who else would try to sell a 112 page, errantly written paperback book for $250? When the sale doesn’t happen, who better to sue than the resale promoting company.

If he were to release that crap on an MP3 file or similar media, he would have a halfway decent case.

heh. If he had, he’d probably misspell MP3 in the offering. Has any of you read his own description of his ‘novel’ on Amazon? First year journalism students don’t make that many grammatical or phrase errors (they do later on when under a deadline).

I can’t get over the crap he wrote in his complaint. It read like stereo instructions from the 70’s. Worse still was the appeal. Just think .. a half dozen paralegals from the prosecutors office sat there for a week typing it up, all because some dumbshit didn’t know to say ‘objection.’

This is too funny. I hope they make a Law & Order episode about it :p

Witty Nickname says:

I emailed him

The idiot submitted the letter in his lawsuit – he admitted it into evidence – so it is admissible. I e-mailed the idiot and put a link to this article – stay tuned he might respond. Also, go to the second to last page of his lawsuit – it is the letter – and it includes his home #, cell # and personal e-mail.

Anne (profile) says:

The most wondrous action would be if Amazon and Ebay both blocked the books from being sold or resold by anyone, including the author. ‘During the time that this matter is being litigated,’s legal department has advised us that we should immediately ban the sale of all books written by this author.’

Give him what he wants. Ban his books from Ebay and Amazon.

Anne (profile) says:

Re: $250 books on Amazon

I sell books at a minimum of $50 every single day on Amazon, where I am a used book dealer, and I also sell $250+ books quite often. Some people feed the low end of the market. I feed rich people. In the end, the $50+ book buyer is far more pleasant and agreeable than the .01 cent book buyer.

This is a phenomena that I have yet to see rationally explained. On both Ebay and Amazon, the lower the price of the merchandise you are selling, the more problems the buyer will bring to you after the sale. Buyers of items costing less than $5 (with shipping included in that total) will bombard a seller with daily email, demanding updates on the status of their order.

The dollar Dellas are impossible to please and are most likely to find flaws in the book and demand a refund, the email typed all in capital letters, and usually throwing the word fraud around like they’re big shots. I fired the low-budget Lolas and two-buck Chucks early on in my career as a bookseller. People who spend $50+ buying used books are entirely different creatures, and it has been an absolute privilege to have them as my customers.

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