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Amazon Tries to Soothe Artisan Concerns over Handmade’s Terms

Responding to intellectual property concerns, Amazon has added language to its Handmade marketplace’s terms of use (TOU) to clarify what rights it obtains from participating artisans.

The issue has troubled some artisans who find that the TOU is overly broad and fear it could grant Amazon permission to reproduce and sell their products.

But a new TOU section addresses these concerns, saying Amazon respects artisans’ intellectual property rights and that the agreement simply grants it rights to promote their products across multiple channels.

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“We do not take the view that your seller agreement gives us the right to reproduce your products as a result of them being offered in the Handmade Category,” the new section reads.

An Amazon spokesman confirmed to EcommerceBytes that this language was added to the Handmade TOU in early November. “Our rationale was to clarify unintended artisan confusion about Handmade at Amazon,” he wrote via email.

Handmade at Amazon, launched in early October, has generated a lot of interest among artisans because, as a marketplace focused on unique, hand-made crafts and artwork, it’s a major Etsy competitor and alternative.

However, some interested artisans decided to stay on the sidelines, spooked by language in the TOU such as this:

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

Robin Zebley, a portrait painter, is encouraged that Amazon addressed the concerns about the TOU because she feels it’s a pity the issue has made some artisans reluctant to join the marketplace.

“The best thing about Amazon clarifying their Handmade IP terms of use is that it shows that they are listening to their Handmade sellers,” she said.

Like others, Zebley, who has her own website at RobinZebley.com in addition to her shops on Etsy and on Amazon Handmade, found the Handmade TOU unclear when she first read them. But thanks to her experience as a legal assistant, she felt comfortable interpreting the agreement and concluding that it didn’t grant Amazon permission to violate her copyrights and steal her artwork.

Juan Carlos Perez on Linkedin
Juan Carlos Perez

Juan Carlos Perez is an award-winning freelance writer and editor with 20 years of experience in technology journalism. The ecommerce market is one of his expertise areas. You can follow Juan on Twitter @PerezTechJourno, contact him via LinkedIn and see a sample of his work at Clippings.me.


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