You are on page 1of 8

1

6
AMERICAN ARBITRATION ASSOCIATION
7

8 AMAZON DIGITAL SERVICES LLC, a


Delaware limited liability corporation, No.
9
Claimant, DEMAND FOR ARBITRATION
10
v.
11
GREEN PUBLISHING, LTD., a private
12 limited company of the United Kingdom;
PROJECT OLYMPUS LIMITED, a private
13 limited company of the United Kingdom; and
JAKE DRYAN, an individual,
14
Respondents.
15

16 INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND


17 1. Respondents have engaged in a scheme to manipulate and abuse Amazons

18 services to reap illicit financial gain, while harming Amazon and those who use its services.

19 Amazon brings this action both to protect its users from Respondents unlawful scheme and to

20 obtain redress for the harm inflicted by it.

21 2. Amazon Digital Services LLC, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc. (collectively,

22 Amazon), gives independent authors and publishers the ability to publish works directly

23 through Amazons Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program.

24 3. KDP allows authors and independent publishers to reach millions of active

25 eBook readers on Amazon. Authors control the rights to their works and can make changes to

26 their books at any time. Authors can set up an eBook for publication in minutes, and within 72

27 hours, the eBook appears for sale in the Amazon Kindle Store.

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP


L AW O F FI CE S
ARBITRATION DEMAND 1 Suite 2200
1201 Third Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101-3045
206.622.3150 main 206.757.7700 fax
1 4. KDP users earn royalties when Amazon customers purchase their books or read

2 them through Kindle subscription reading programs. Kindle Unlimited (KU) permits

3 subscribers, for a monthly fee, to read as many books as they want from a selection of over one

4 million titles. The Kindle Owners Lending Library (KOLL) is a benefit for Amazon Prime

5 members, and it allows members to borrow one eBook per month at no additional cost. KDP

6 authors can choose to include their books in KU and KOLL by enrolling in an optional program

7 called KDP Select, which offers certain benefits to authors in exchange for making their eBooks

8 exclusively available through Amazon for a 90-day period.

9 5. KDP authors participating in KDP Select earn monthly royalties based on the

10 number of pages of their eBooks that KU and KOLL customers read that month. Amazon

11 maintains a global royalty fund, from which KDP Select authors receive a share, calculated as a

12 percentage of the total number of pages read through KU and KOLL that month.

13 6. The more pages KU and KOLL customers read of an individual authors books,

14 the larger the authors share of the royalty fund becomes; and, accordingly, other authors will

15 receive less from the fund. The KDP royalty system thus depends on the integrity of a fair

16 allocation of page readsi.e., that authors are not artificially inflating their page reads to the

17 detriment of other authors.

18 7. Amazon thus employs various tools, including automated and manual reviews, to

19 protect against abuse of the KDP royalty system. Amazon also requires KDP authors to ensure

20 that no tactics used to promote their books manipulate Amazon eBook programs. If authors

21 cannot trust that the KDP royalty system fairly rewards page reads of their eBooks, that loss of

22 trust damages the integrity of the KDP program and the reputation of Amazon as a reliable and

23 reputable self-publishing service.

24 8. KDP Select authors books are also available for sale to Amazon customers to

25 purchase at an individual price. These book sales counts towards a books best sellers rank on

26 Amazon. The higher the books best sellers rank, the more visible it becomes to customers,

27

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP


L AW O F FI CE S
ARBITRATION DEMAND 2 Suite 2200
1201 Third Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101-3045
206.622.3150 main 206.757.7700 fax
1 which in turn may result in increased purchases and greater author royalties from KU/KOLL

2 reading activity.

3 9. Another benefit that KDP Select offers to authors is the ability to select up to five

4 promo days out of each 90-day KDP Select enrollment period in which their eBook will be

5 available to customers to download for free. Books that are downloaded for free during the

6 promo days also count towards their Amazon best sellers rank, and the promo days can have

7 the effect of allowing books to rise in best sellers ranking.

8 10. Amazon prohibits KDP authors from publishing books that are undifferentiated

9 or barely differentiated from existing titles in the Kindle store for purposes of preserving a

10 positive customer experience.

11 11. Respondents have manipulated and abused the KDP service for financial gain

12 and to the detriment of other KDP authors and Amazons reputation.

13 12. Amazon files this demand for arbitration against Respondents to protect Amazon

14 and its publishers against Respondents abuse of the KDP service, bringing claims for breach of

15 contract, intentional interference with contractual relations, and violation of the Washington

16 Consumer Protection Act.

17 PARTIES

18 13. Claimant Amazon Digital Services LLC is a Delaware limited liability

19 corporation with its principal place of business in Seattle, Washington.

20 14. Respondent Green Publishing Limited (Green Publishing) is a private limited

21 company formed under the laws of the United Kingdom.

22 15. Respondent Project Olympus Limited (Project Olympus) is a private limited

23 company formed under the laws of the United Kingdom.

24 16. Jake Dryan is an individual residing in London, England. Mr. Dryan is the sole

25 director and officer of Green Publishing. Mr. Dryan is also an officer and director of Project

26 Olympus.

27

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP


L AW O F FI CE S
ARBITRATION DEMAND 3 Suite 2200
1201 Third Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101-3045
206.622.3150 main 206.757.7700 fax
JURISDICTION AND GOVERNING LAW
1
17. Each of the Respondents agreed to the Amazon Conditions of Use when they
2
created their Amazon customer accounts. Respondents agreed that [a]ny dispute or claim
3
relating in any way to your use of any Amazon Service, or to any products or services sold or
4
distributed by Amazon or through Amazon.com will be resolved by binding arbitration .
5
The Conditions of Use further specified the arbitration would be conducted by the American
6
Arbitration Association under its rules.
7
18. Respondents also agreed to the Kindle Direct Publishing Terms and Conditions.
8
Respondents agreed that [a]ny dispute or claim relating in any way to this Agreement or KDP
9
will be resolved by binding arbitration, rather than in court . The United States Federal
10
Arbitration Act and federal arbitration law apply to this Agreement.
11
19. The parties agreements, the Federal Arbitration Act, and the laws of the State of
12
Washington govern this dispute.
13
20. Amazon requests this arbitration be conducted in person in King County,
14
Washington, where the parties contractual relationship is centered, with the list of potential
15
arbitrators drawn from the Western District of Washington where this matter is to be heard.
16
FACTS COMMON TO ALL CLAIMS
17
21. Respondents have established at least six Amazon publisher accounts under Mr.
18
Dryans name or the name of his companies, Green Publishing and Project Olympus. One of
19
these accounts engaged in hyperlink abuse in violation of Amazons rules and policies. This is a
20
practice (now blocked by Amazon) in which KDP authors include, in the first few pages of a
21
book, hyperlinks that, if clicked, bring readers to the end of books to artificially increase the
22
number of pages ostensibly read.
23
22. Respondents have created duplicate content in violation of Amazons rules and
24
policies. Every new book on Amazon is assigned an Amazon Standard Identification Number
25
(ASIN). At one point in 2017, all five of Respondents books on the Bestseller list included
26
content that had been previously included in different ASINs in KDP Select. Respondents
27

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP


L AW O F FI CE S
ARBITRATION DEMAND 4 Suite 2200
1201 Third Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101-3045
206.622.3150 main 206.757.7700 fax
1 repeatedly unpublished their ASINs, combined various selections of content they had previously

2 published under different ASINs to create new books, and republished the new books under

3 new ASINs. This practice allowed Respondents to repeatedly re-enroll duplicate content in

4 KDP Selects free promo days, in violation of Amazons policies, to artificially inflate their

5 Amazon best sellers rank.

6 23. Respondents have used bots and/or clickfarms to improperly inflate the amount

7 of page reads their books have received through the KU and KOLL programs.

8 24. These practices artificially increased Respondents readership totals, which

9 threatens the integrity of the KDP service and the Amazon best seller lists.

10 CLAIMS
11 First Claim: Breach of Contract (Conditions of Use)

12 25. The Conditions of Use constitute a binding and enforceable contract between

13 Amazon and Respondents.

14 26. The Conditions of Use state that [n]o Amazon Service may be exploited

15 for any commercial purpose without express written consent of Amazon. It further states that

16 [y]ou may not misuse the Amazon Services.

17 27. On information and belief, Respondents have exploited Amazon Services

18 Kindle Direct Publishing and Kindle Unlimitedfor commercial use by using bots and/or

19 clickfarms to artificially inflate their page reads to increase KDP royalties. This practice also

20 constitutes a misuse of the Amazon Services.

21 28. Respondents material breaches have caused Amazon damage in the form of

22 reputational and monetary harm, the amount of which is to be proved in arbitration.

23 Second Claim: Breach of Contract (Kindle Direct Publishing Terms and Conditions)

24 29. The Kindle Direct Publishing Terms and Conditions (the KDP Terms)

25 constitute a binding and enforceable contract between Amazon and Respondents.

26 30. The KDP Terms incorporate all rules and policies for participating in the

27 Program provided on the KDP website at http://kdp.amazon.com/.

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP


L AW O F FI CE S
ARBITRATION DEMAND 5 Suite 2200
1201 Third Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101-3045
206.622.3150 main 206.757.7700 fax
1 31. Those policies include Amazons Content Guidelines, under which Amazon

2 [does not] accept books that provide a poor customer experience. This disappointing

3 content includes [c]ontent that is not significantly differentiated from another book available

4 in the Kindle Store and [c]ontent that is a non-differentiated version of another book available

5 in the Kindle Store. The policies also prohibit any manipulation of the Kindle Service.

6 32. On information and belief, Respondents have violated these policies by

7 publishing duplicative content. By republishing already-published content under new ASINs,

8 Respondents have exploited the KDP Select promo days benefit to artificially increase their

9 books Amazon best sellers rank, to the detriment of other KDP authors and Amazon programs

10 (such as KU) as a whole.

11 33. On information and belief, Respondents have also manipulated the Kindle

12 Service with bots and/or clickfarms that have artificially inflated their page reads.

13 34. Respondents material breaches have caused Amazon damage in the form of

14 reputational and monetary harm, the amount of which is to be proved in arbitration.

15 Third Claim: Intentional Interference with Contractual Relations

16 35. Every KDP author participating in KDP Select has agreed to the Terms and

17 Conditions for KDP Select Program (KDP Select Terms). Section 2.3 of the KDP Select

18 Terms establishes that Amazon will pay royalties to KDP authors based on a proportionate

19 allocation of the KDP Select fund, based on how much of your content is read.

20 36. Respondents know of the KDP Select Termsa contract between Amazon and

21 other KDP authorsand have intentionally interfered with that relationship by artificially

22 inflating page reads to their exclusive benefit and to the detriment of other KDP authors.

23 37. Respondents interference was through improper meansby violating the

24 Conditions of Use and the KDP Terms and Conditionsand for the improper purposes of (i)

25 artificially inflating their KDP royalties, (ii) gaining a windfall from improper manipulation of

26 the system, and (iii) harming other authors, Amazon, and the integrity of the KDP system.

27

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP


L AW O F FI CE S
ARBITRATION DEMAND 6 Suite 2200
1201 Third Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101-3045
206.622.3150 main 206.757.7700 fax
1 38. Respondents intentional interference with Amazons contractual relationships

2 with KDP authors has caused Amazon damage in the form of reputational and monetary harm,

3 the amount of which is to be proved in arbitration.

4 Fourth Claim: Unfair Business Practice

5 39. Respondents have engaged in unfair and deceptive acts and practices in violation

6 of the Washington Consumer Protection Act, RCW 19.86.020.

7 40. By manipulating their page views in violation of Amazons KDP policies,

8 Respondents have engaged in an unfair or deceptive act or practice in trade or commerce.

9 41. These acts and practices impact the public interest. By manipulating page views,

10 Respondents threaten the integrity of the KDPs system of royalties. Respondents unfair acts

11 and practices affect not only authors (who may question whether they receive a fair royalty

12 share), but also readers (who would lose access to content if authors leave KDP because of

13 practices like the Respondents manipulation of page views).

14 42. These unfair and deceptive acts and practices have proximately caused damage to

15 Amazon in the form of reputational and monetary harm, in an amount to be proved in

16 arbitration.

17 REQUEST FOR RELIEF


18 Amazon respectfully requests the following relief:

19 A. That Respondents be found in breach of contract, to have intentionally interfered

20 with Amazons contractual relationships with KDP authors, and to have committed an unfair or

21 deceptive act or practice in violation of Washingtons Consumer Protection Act;

22 B. That Respondents be found liable for, and ordered to pay, damages in an amount

23 to be proved in arbitration;

24 C. That Amazon be awarded treble damages and recover its reasonable attorneys

25 fees pursuant to RCW 19.86.090; and

26 D. That Respondents be enjoined from further wrongful conduct against Amazon

27 and from interfering in its contractual and business relationships with KDP authors.

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP


L AW O F FI CE S
ARBITRATION DEMAND 7 Suite 2200
1201 Third Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101-3045
206.622.3150 main 206.757.7700 fax
1 DATED this 6th day of September, 2017.

2 DAVIS WRIGHT TREMAINE LLP


Attorneys for Amazon Digital Services LLC
3

4 By s/ John A. Goldmark
John A. Goldmark, WSBA #40980
5 Tom Wyrwich, WSBA #45719
1201 Third Avenue, Suite 2200
6 Seattle, WA 98101-3045
Tel: (206) 622-3150; Fax: (206) 757-7700
7 Email: johngoldmark@dwt.com
tomwyrwich@dwt.com
8

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP


L AW O F FI CE S
ARBITRATION DEMAND 8 Suite 2200
1201 Third Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101-3045
206.622.3150 main 206.757.7700 fax