“Amazon Publishing will acquire all rights to your new stories, including global publication rights, for the term of copyright.” What this means is that when you publish a story on Kindle Worlds, you’re giving Amazon the right to do whatever they want with your story, forever. They can sell it electronically, digitally, carve it into a rock, or give it away. It’s up to them, and you have no say. Ever.
“You will own the copyright to the original, copyrightable elements (such as characters, scenes, and events) that you create and include in your work, and the World Licensor will retain the copyright to all the original elements of the World.” Awesome! Exactly the kind of license I would want. Except …
“When you submit your story in a World, you are granting Amazon Publishing an exclusive license to the story and all the original elements you include in that story.” Want to publish your fan fiction on FanFiction.net? Tough. Amazon is the only entity legally allowed to publish your material. And if they decide that they want to stop publishing your material? Sucks for you. You have no other outlet.
“This means that your story and all the new elements must stay within the applicable World.” This is a huge, flashing warning sign, a big neon Danger, Will Robinson! When you submit a story to Kindle Worlds, you give Amazon all of the rights to your new ideas, even ideas that came solely from your head. Come up with a concept for an awesome new character who just happens to interact with a Salvatore Brother? You can never use that character anywhere except within a Kindle Worlds story.
“We will allow Kindle Worlds authors to build on each other’s ideas and elements.” This means that people get to write fan fiction about your fan fiction. Kindle Worlds is essentially a viral license. I don’t exactly have a problem with that. It would be cool if there was a way to be compensated when another author uses some or your original ideas, but I honestly don’t know how that would even be possible.
“We will also give the World Licensor a license to use your new elements and incorporate them into other works without further compensation to you.” One of the big issues authors have traditionally had with fan fiction is the possibility that a fan fiction writer would claim the original author stole the fan’s ideas and incorporated them into their work. This is why even authors who explicitly allow fan fiction almost never read fan fiction. This sentence does away with that fear entirely. If you submit a story to Kindle Worlds, the original creators can use it however they want. Just think! The next season of Vampire Diaries could be based on your story! Except you won’t be paid for it.
The exception is the license to new concepts developed within a Kindle Worlds story. That is uniquely the author’s own, and submitting to Kindle Worlds locks it up forever. Stories are an author’s lifeblood, and you should never give that kind of control over your ideas to someone else. Fifty Shades of Gray would have never happened under Kindle Worlds, because Amazon would own all of the rights to that story, not EL James. She wouldn’t have been allowed to change the character names, flush out the story, and publish on her own. Amazon would have owned that work, not her.