According to https://wordsrated.com/self-published-book-sales-statistics/, 300 million self-published books are sold each year.

I am thinking about, in the future, uploading (i.e., self-publishing) two books to Amazon:

(i) One that I re-typeset that I believe is in the public domain.

(ii) One that I composed myself.

I don't know who will appear as the publisher---perhaps, say, "ABC publishing" (if Amazon allows me to insert a name) or Kindle Direct Publishing.

In any case, I am wondering if either I or KDP Amazon could get sued if, say, (i) someone wanted to contest my assertion that the first book is in the public domain; or, (ii) if someone did not like what I wrote in the second case and wanted to sue for whatever reason?

Reasonably, can such occur; and if so, who would get sued---me or Amazon? If me, how may I protect myself?

I would like to make the books available to the French and United States markets.

1 Answer 1


The vendor has available the DMCA safe harbor provisions if you decides to infringe someone else's book – the copyright owner notifies them that they don't have the copyright holder's permission, so they take the book down (independently the copyright owner sues you for infringement). There is a complicated procedure where they contact Amazon, Amazon tell you you've been accused of infringement and they take it down, they you can counter-claim that you have the right to distribute the book, then the owner files a suit against you). If Amazon doesn't comply with the DMCA formalities, they can be sued for contributory infringement. However: the copyright owner is the only person empowered to legally object – simply asserting that a book is "not in the public domain" carries no legal weight.

If you are the copyright holder, but someone doesn't like what they can say, they can't do anything about it legally unless what you wrote is defamatory or is "illegal for you to publish" (you publish a fact that you cannot publish under a non-disclosure agreement; it constitutes a gross invasion of privacy...). The "whatever reason" matters very much. The consequence for you is that you will get sues and have to pay a bunch of money, plus the court will probably prevent any further distribution of the book. There are other sanctions in France, which I don't address here, for instance there are laws against publishing racist insults in France that don't exist in the US.

  • Would establishing an LLC prior to uploading the book protect the individual in the case of a contested public domain book?
    – DDS
    Dec 9, 2022 at 21:51
  • @I. Yaromir probably not. That kind of intentional conduct generally allows the other side to "pierce the corporate veil" and impose liability on the responsible individual(s). Dec 10, 2022 at 2:15
  • @DavidSiegel I'm surprised, for I thought, generally speaking, that incorporation shields one from personal liability.
    – DDS
    Dec 10, 2022 at 2:30
  • 1
    @I. Yaromir It is not quite as simple as that. Incorporation normally shields one from personal liability for business risks and negligence, but is less likely to for intentional conduct. It is not automatic, a separate application must be made to disregard the corporate entity and impose personal liability, and the judge has some discretion about the matter. The rules on this will vary somewhat from one US state to another, also. This would make a good question of its own here, I think -- too much to fully answer in a comment. Google "pierce the corporate veil" Dec 10, 2022 at 2:56
  • @DavidSiegel Thank you for you helpful comments.
    – DDS
    Dec 10, 2022 at 11:54

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