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If a user posts a review on Amazon, does (s)he have copyright on that review? Is there anything in the terms and conditions where (s)he transfers his/her ownership of the IP to Amazon? If not, how does Amazon protect its reviews from being used on other sites?

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it doesn't appear to having anything to do with the writing process. Questions specific to Amazon policies should be directed to Amazon. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Jul 17 '19 at 1:57
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    @JasonBassford It's consistent with other questions here that are considered on topic. Writing a review is a writing task and it's reasonable to know if you retain the copyright on your own review. Voting to leave open. – Cyn says make Monica whole Jul 17 '19 at 4:09
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    @Cyn The question has nothing to do with how to write a review—or maintaining ownership in general (which would be a duplicate of another question). It's asking what Amazon's legal terms and conditions are. That's not something that any of us can answer in terms of giving writing advice. It's domain-specific to Amazon. And if it's asking for legal advice, then a lawyer should be asked. (Or this should perhaps be asked at Law.SE) – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Jul 17 '19 at 4:19
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    Our scope includes publication and we have other questions about ownership/rights. This Q feels like it's in a gray area, but it doesn't have to be about writing the review to be on topic. – Monica Cellio Jul 18 '19 at 0:11
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    I chose StackExchange Writing because I first did some research and found a similar question here. I figure it's on topic because it pertains to writing reviews, though it's not about writing itself. It's on the edge of off topic, but that's what moderators are for xD – Jonah Jul 18 '19 at 22:17
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The author retains copyright.

Amazon does not claim to control or own customer reviews. Instead they claim a right of "sublicense" where they are allowed to republish the review forever. They specifically use the term "nonexclusive". They claim no IP rights over your review, just the ability to display it (and parts of it) in any form on any media.

unless we indicate otherwise, you grant Amazon a nonexclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, and fully sublicensable right to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, perform, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, and display such content throughout the world in any media.

At the time of writing, the link to their Conditions of Use is here:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=508088

  • How is this effectively retaining copyright? It all reads to me as if they could take my review, change any or all of the words I used, and then publish the altered version somewhere else. Most people would assume that if you retain copyright of a work, you also retain some level of control over what happens to it, It's also not clear if the potentially completely altered version of your review would still be attributed to you. (Even though the original would.) – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Jul 17 '19 at 18:46
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    "irrevocable" yikes! – Jonah Jul 18 '19 at 22:02
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    Jason, this seems consistent with what's possible in licencing code (which is more familiar to me). It sounds a bit like an MIT or GPLv2 license except only to Amazon, where the author retains copyright but it otherwise doesn't really restrict the work's use. – Jonah Jul 18 '19 at 22:22
  • Do you think, then, that the copyright held by the author is sufficient to prevent other websites from using the review? – Jonah Jul 18 '19 at 22:29
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    @Jonah, how would enforcing your own copyright be any different, whether or not it you posted it on Amazon reviews? It's your copyright. It's still your responsibility to enforce it. – wetcircuit Jul 18 '19 at 22:39

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