As you may know, I’ve published an illustrated book as well as five coloring books on Amazon. I check on them all nearly daily to look for new ratings/reviews, and make sure everything is functioning properly. I do this because an event last year where one of my books was taken down due to a phony copyright infringement notice has left me somewhat traumatized. The speculation is that it was filed by one of my competitors who was trying to knock me off the best sellers list. They successfully disrupted my sales and I was devastated, so now I monitor things closely.
Anyways, it’s recently come to my attention that a couple of people are publishing books under my name. What if they just have the same name as me? I can almost assure you they don’t. Kitzes is a very rare name, and the only other Julie Kitzes I’m aware of is my husband’s aunt (who took her husband’s name and doesn’t regularly go by Julie Kitzes anymore).
The first one is a clear cut case of copyright violation. Someone took my coloring book - Cats Being Dicks - and reprinted it, cover and all, as a spiral bound book. They use my name as the author, but also have a back cover stating: “PLEASE NOTE: We do not claim authorship or publish rights for this book. WE ARE NOT THE AUTHOR OR PUBLISHER OF THIS BOOK. All copyrighted and trademarked materials belong to their respective authors and publishers. Respecting their intellectual property, our source for these books is either directly from the author, Amazon, or authorized distributors. As per the “right of first sale”, we lawfully purchase these books and later modify the binding. The original publisher or author details can typically be located within the book's initial pages.”
What a fucking crock of shit.
So what is this “right of first sale” they’re talking about? Does it override the copyright notice in my book that says nothing in the book can be copied or redistributed without my written permission? Of fucking course not! Here’s what the Justice Department defines it as:
“The first sale doctrine, codified at 17 U.S.C. § 109, provides that an individual who knowingly purchases a copy of a copyrighted work from the copyright holder receives the right to sell, display or otherwise dispose of that particular copy, notwithstanding the interests of the copyright owner.”
Basically what this means is if someone buys my book, they have the right to resell that book. THAT INDIVIDUAL COPY OF MY BOOK. They don’t have the right to violate my copyright. Nice try “Personalized JoyCrafts”.
The second is not so clear cut, but definitely sus.
An unknown author (who’s claiming to be Julie Kitzes, but almost certainly isn’t named that), has put out 64 fashion coloring books (all with the same title), all within the span of 4 days. If you scroll through the listings, you can see that they reuse the same cover on multiple books that have different ASIN numbers (Amazon’s product number) Furthermore, it’s pretty evident that they have used AI to generate these books which goes against Amazon’s AI policy. How can I tell they’re AI? A hallmark of AI, at least in this stage of the game since it’s getting better day after day, is that AI can’t grasp hands. They always look wonky. So in these coloring books, the people either always have their hands in their pockets, or they wind up looking fucked up. Here are some examples of ones I screen-capped:
I’ve reported both of these issues to Amazon and am awaiting a reply. Hopefully they make it right, and if not, I will get an attorney on my side because it’s unfair to have people banking off my brand and tarnishing my reputation as an artist. As for these and future leeches stealing my work and my name - Don’t fuck with me. In the famously mistranslated words of Nikita Khrushchev - "I will bury you."