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Old 07-19-2009, 09:36 PM   #1
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Default Amazon remotely erases books from Kindle

Quote:
Originally Posted by New York Times
In George Orwell’s “1984,” government censors erase all traces of news articles embarrassing to Big Brother by sending them down an incineration chute called the “memory hole.”

On Friday, it was “1984” and another Orwell book, “Animal Farm,” that were dropped down the memory hole — by Amazon.com.

In a move that angered customers and generated waves of online pique, Amazon remotely deleted some digital editions of the books from the Kindle devices of readers who had bought them.

An Amazon spokesman, Drew Herdener, said in an e-mail message that the books were added to the Kindle store by a company that did not have rights to them, using a self-service function. “When we were notified of this by the rights holder, we removed the illegal copies from our systems and from customers’ devices, and refunded customers,” he said.

Amazon effectively acknowledged that the deletions were a bad idea. “We are changing our systems so that in the future we will not remove books from customers’ devices in these circumstances,” Mr. Herdener said.

Customers whose books were deleted indicated that MobileReference, a digital publisher, had sold them. An e-mail message to SoundTells, the company that owns MobileReference, was not immediately returned.

Digital books bought for the Kindle are sent to it over a wireless network. Amazon can also use that network to synchronize electronic books between devices — and apparently to make them vanish.

An authorized digital edition of “1984” from its American publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, was still available on the Kindle store Friday night, but there was no such version of “Animal Farm.”

People who bought the rescinded editions of the books reacted with indignation, while acknowledging the literary ironies involved. “Of all the books to recall,” said Charles Slater, an executive with a sheet-music retailer in Philadelphia, who bought the digital edition of “1984” for 99 cents last month. “I never imagined that Amazon actually had the right, the authority or even the ability to delete something that I had already purchased.”

Antoine Bruguier, an engineer in Silicon Valley, said he had noticed that his digital copy of “1984” appeared to be a scan of a paper edition of the book. “If this Kindle breaks, I won’t buy a new one, that’s for sure,” he said.

Amazon appears to have deleted other purchased e-books from Kindles recently. Customers commenting on Web forums reported the disappearance of digital editions of the Harry Potter books and the novels of Ayn Rand over similar issues.

Amazon’s published terms of service agreement for the Kindle does not appear to give the company the right to delete purchases after they have been made. It says Amazon grants customers the right to keep a “permanent copy of the applicable digital content.”

Retailers of physical goods cannot, of course, force their way into a customer’s home to take back a purchase, no matter how bootlegged it turns out to be. Yet Amazon appears to maintain a unique tether to the digital content it sells for the Kindle.

“It illustrates how few rights you have when you buy an e-book from Amazon,” said Bruce Schneier, chief security technology officer for British Telecom and an expert on computer security and commerce. “As a Kindle owner, I’m frustrated. I can’t lend people books and I can’t sell books that I’ve already read, and now it turns out that I can’t even count on still having my books tomorrow.”

Justin Gawronski, a 17-year-old from the Detroit area, was reading “1984” on his Kindle for a summer assignment and lost all his notes and annotations when the file vanished. “They didn’t just take a book back, they stole my work,” he said.

On the Internet, of course, there is no such thing as a memory hole. While the copyright on “1984” will not expire until 2044 in the United States, it has already expired in other countries, including Canada, Australia and Russia. Web sites in those countries offer digital copies of the book free to all comers.
(Source)

Quite ironic that it was 1984 that was removed from the Kindle, of all books. Maybe it's a plot by Big Brother?

On a more serious note, I've been following the Kindle since release because I'm starting to read more lately and it looks like a great device, but it's not available outside of the US. I knew books bought through Amazon for the Kindle had DRM, but I don't like the idea of Amazon being able to remotely remove books you purchased from your device...
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Old 07-19-2009, 10:59 PM   #2
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Default Re: Amazon remotely erases books from Kindle

According to the article, 1984 was deleted due to it's illegal source, not it content. Also, Amazon issued a refund to those that purchased the book. That sounds fair to me, although it's not to hard to imagine that many people would be very upset by this.

I have all purchased all three Kindles, the first generation (that now belongs to my sister), the Kindle 2 which is a nice portable library device, and the Kindle DX which is a bigger, but more importantly for me, displays PDF files in native format. I really love the Kindle! I take mine everywhere! Oh, I almost forgot, I have a free APP that let's me use my Ipod touch as a Kindle device. That would be a good inexpensive starting point for many. I check the top 100 Kindle books every week because there are always a few free books.
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Old 07-20-2009, 07:55 AM   #3
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Default Re: Amazon remotely erases books from Kindle

I realize it was deleted due to copyright issues/not being authorized, but it should have just been removed from the store(?), not from people who have actually purchased it.

If a brick and mortar bookstore sold you a book that they later found out was obtained originally, should they be allowed to come into your house, steal the book back without your permission and leave $5 on your table? That's essentially what Amazon did... albeit virtually.
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Old 07-20-2009, 08:45 AM   #4
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Default Re: Amazon remotely erases books from Kindle

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Originally Posted by ~NeonFire~ View Post
I realize it was deleted due to copyright issues/not being authorized, but it should have just been removed from the store(?), not from people who have actually purchased it.

If a brick and mortar bookstore sold you a book that they later found out was obtained originally, should they be allowed to come into your house, steal the book back without your permission and leave $5 on your table? That's essentially what Amazon did... albeit virtually.


Agreed. They wouldn't have been able to do this if it was not a digital book...
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Old 07-20-2009, 11:17 AM   #5
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Default Re: Amazon remotely erases books from Kindle

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Originally Posted by ~NeonFire~ View Post
If a brick and mortar bookstore sold you a book that they later found out was obtained originally, should they be allowed to come into your house, steal the book back without your permission and leave $5 on your table? That's essentially what Amazon did... albeit virtually.
This. No other explanation needed. What a crock of sh**.

Actually, I take that back. If there's something on the site (in an EULA agreement or something) that says they can do this, then I guess it's not a crock of sh** anymore. But I'm not going to go looking for it.
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Old 07-20-2009, 11:46 AM   #6
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Default Re: Amazon remotely erases books from Kindle

http://consumerist.com/5318014/how-t...+amazon-ebooks
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Old 07-21-2009, 12:23 AM   #7
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Default Re: Amazon remotely erases books from Kindle

Quote:
Originally Posted by ~NeonFire~ View Post
If a brick and mortar bookstore sold you a book that they later found out was obtained originally, should they be allowed to come into your house, steal the book back without your permission and leave $5 on your table? That's essentially what Amazon did... albeit virtually.
The difference is that they don't have to invade anything they are not authorized to with regard to a kindle as opposed to your house. Granted, it was a poor move on their part from a marketing prospective.

For me, it really wouldn't make any difference. I back up my Amazon downloads on my computer. Amazon can't access those files. If they did, it would be like they broke into my house and took a book back.
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Old 07-24-2009, 07:55 PM   #8
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Default Re: Amazon remotely erases books from Kindle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Bezos
This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle. Our "solution" to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles. It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the criticism we've received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission.

With deep apology to our customers,

Jeff Bezos
Founder & CEO
Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/tag/kindle/for...ype=tagsDetail

Always been a customer of Amazon.com, always will.
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Old 07-24-2009, 10:36 PM   #9
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Default Re: Amazon remotely erases books from Kindle

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Originally Posted by 01001010 View Post
http://www.amazon.com/tag/kindle/for...ype=tagsDetail

Always been a customer of Amazon.com, always will.
Wow. Props to Amazon for actually admitting that.
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