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Amazon takes Kindle self publishing global

Wanna sell some Orwell?

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Amazon is expanding its Kindle self-publishing platform to allow authors and (supposed) rights holders to upload and sell e-books worldwide in English, German, and French.

The online vendor's global rollout of its Digital Text Platform arrives on the coattails of Amazon extending the reach of the Kinde DX e-reader beyond North America earlier this month.

Amazon's self-publishing platform allows those with publishing rights for a book or publication to sell the content on Amazon's Kindle Store. It was previously limited to the English language and to authors and publishers based in the United States.

Rights holders set their own prices and receive 35 per cent of sales.

However, determining if an author or publisher owns legal rights to a book is easier said than done. The self-publishing platform was what got Amazon in trouble last July, when it silently deleted all digital copies of 1984 and Animal Farm from its customers' Kindles after the real rights holder complained the titles were sold without permission. A third-party publisher had uploaded the digital texts to the Kindle store falsely claiming the titles were in US public domain.

Amazon vowed never to delete e-books in that manner ever again, but didn't say if any additional safeguards were put in place to make sure more unlicensed books don't appear under the platform in the first place. And a promise not to repeat the Orwellian moment is rather dubious in itself, as Amazon showed it has the ability to remove texts that are already paid for and downloaded – and has a legal obligation to remove pirated content.

How Amazon's self-help content rights vetting process will stand up to inevitable complications of an international stage may make holding to that promise even more difficult. The vendor doesn't detail any internal copyright screen procedures, but does ask sellers to confirm content rights themselves before uploading. (Hope you have your international copyright law primer handy, authors).

Amazon was not immediately available to comment on Kindle e-book copyright concerns. ®

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