Books Just Disappeared, Always During The Night

By tiefschwarz on Tuesday 9 February 2010 09:29 - Comments (6)
Category: Law & Technology / TILT, Views: 2.922

In the world of the Internet and digital content, amazon.com (Amazon) is a big one. Amongst other services, it facilitates distribution of e-books and develops and markets the necessary hardware and software to read them, embodied in its Kindle device. Periodically the device synchronizes with the end users’ account. It is connected through a service called Whispernet to manage content. This managing was supposed to entail the possibility to download content to the Kindle device. However in the summer of 2009 the electronic commerce giant demonstrated a different kind of management that left many people thoroughly astonished.
In an effort to conform to the rights holders’ demands, Amazon pulled two works by George Orwell from its online distribution service. However, in a tragic delusion of totalitarian grandeur, Amazon found it appropriate to remove the books from the accounts of users that bought the book as well, which in turn led to the removal of the books from the Kindle devices owned by those users. The irony that one of the works removed was Nineteen Eighty-Four should not be lost on those who are familiar with the book.
What followed after this opportunistic course of action was a massive uproar amongst consumers, media and legal experts. Amazon quickly cried its crocodile tears and offered an apology to its users. Despite the refund that accompanied the removal, there is something utterly wrong and unjust about Amazon’s behavior. After admitting removing the books from the Kindles was wrong, they remained ambiguous on when they would remove or not. In my opinion, Amazon is liable for the removal, regardless the refund given. Digital content providers should never be allowed to unilaterally remove content from devices owned by end users.

Read more »