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Careful Reader avatar image
Careful Reader asked

Terms of Use legalese

Are the terms of use translated anywhere for non-lawyers? I'm asking because there's a (horrid) discussion about them on a POD forum I belong to and where there are all kinds of claims about how Amazon has set itself up so it can (legally?) steal from the designers, which sounds truly absurd. I've read the terms to mean that Amazon wants designers to agree to allow images of their products to be used for promotional reasons, but I'm not a lawyer, and so the various terms could easily be about something else.
merch by amazon
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Leia@Amazon avatar image
Leia@Amazon answered
Thanks for the help and clarification, Careful Reader. Although we can't fully translate anything from legalese, the rights are non-exclusive and royalties for each t-shirt sold are paid in accordance with the Merch by Amazon Services Agreement which can be found at https://merch.amazon.com/resource/201859930.
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L. Frase avatar image
L. Frase answered
I've seen that same discussion going on about Amazon Handmade. I would be interested in hearing more.
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John A. avatar image
John A. answered
Since Amazon is doing the printing and everything, we have to grant them permission and license to our designs. I wouldn't worry about it too much. You still get royalties for your designs. Message was edited by: John A.
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Careful Reader avatar image
Careful Reader answered
You've the same sense of it that I do, but I'd dearly love being able to get all those blabber-pusses on that other forum to stop assuming they know all about such things, stating their made-up facts, and spreading the nonsense to huge number of people. Essentially, that's one of the consequences of legalese--only lawyers understand it.
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John A. avatar image
John A. answered
Yeah I agree. I just doubt Amazon wants to take my shirt designs and do something else with them. I'm pretty sure once they are able to make coffee mugs, hats, mousepads, etc. we will be given the opportunity to put our artwork on those as well.
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Nate avatar image
Nate answered
The issue isn't whether or not Amazon is trustworthy (I feel in general as a company that they are), but rather a question of who retains creative rights to designs. Other competing platforms will let designers retain their design rights, entering into a licensed agreement with the user. The concern is that when you use Merch by A, you are literally transferring your ownership rights to Amazon -- in which case, if you try to use that design on other platforms in the future, Amazon has the right to state infringement.
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Careful Reader avatar image
Careful Reader answered
I didn't read in that agreement that we're transferring ownership of our art. Having spent years as a writer, I always signed contracts that could vary depending on the publisher. For instance, a book publisher purchased the right to publish exclusively, though once out of print, they always legally gave back the publishing rights to the author, while magazines tended to differ slightly depending on how big or small they were. None of them ever purchased the books or articles; instead, it was first rights to put them into print. Amazon's terms of use don't cover exclusivity of any kind that I could I see, nor do they say anything about grabbing the rights to the art.
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Nate avatar image
Nate answered
You're correct, Careful Reader, I seem to have misinterpreted -- for all browsing this thread, here is the legalese in question: "Materials You Post or Provide; Communications Monitoring" The Services Agreement sets forth our rights related to any product information you post or submit through the Portal. For other information and materials you post or otherwise provide to Amazon related to the Portal (a “Submission”), you grant Amazon and its affiliates a non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable license to (1) use, copy, distribute, transmit, make available, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, adapt, modify, translate, reformat and create derivative works of your Submission, each in connection with the Portal and the Program, and (2) sublicense these rights, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law. Amazon will not pay you for your Submission and may remove your Submission at any time. For each Submission you provide, you represent that you have all rights necessary for you to grant us the rights provided in this section.
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John A. avatar image
John A. answered
It also states that designs are non-exclusive meaning we can have them on other sites. Therefore, that doesn't mean they become Amazon's designs.
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Careful Reader avatar image
Careful Reader answered
Thank you, Leia. Reading through the agreement (which sure wasn't easy!) confirmed my take on the Terms of Use. Essentially, it's quite standard and is nothing for anyone to get in an uproar about.
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