Posts Tagged ‘amazon’

In an earlier post, I wrote about Amazon’s deletion of unauthorized copies of ‘1984’ from some users’ Kindles and the companies subsequent gracious apology. Well, it appears the story is not quite over. A lawsuit has been filed in Seattle that seeks class action status for Kindle owners and Orwell readers, claiming that Amazon breached it’s contract with Kindle owners when it deleted the e-books.

I had earlier expressed my disappointment with Amazon’s intrusive action. However, I had then assumed that the terms of use allowed Amazon to do what it did, in at least some specific cases. In other words, while Amazon’s actions were stupid, scary and against the spirit of liberty, I did not think they were actually violating anyone’s rights.

However, if it is true that Amazon’s actions were indeed not authorized under the terms of use, which say that “Amazon grants you the non-exclusive right to keep a permanent copy of the applicable Digital Content and to view, use, and display such Digital Content an unlimited number of times,” then Amazon violated the Kindle owners’ rights and liberty not just in spirit but in very tangible terms. I continue to admire Amazon as a company and I will still do business with them; but in the light of this information, I hope that whoever brought the lawsuit wins substantial damages.

Aside: It appears that Amazon similarly deleted e-copies of Ayn Rand’s novels earlier. Heh.

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I have always been a fan of Amazon.com which is why I was particularly saddened and outraged by the recent incident where Amazon remotely deleted books from users’ Kindles. (Volokh had a series of posts on the matter)

Well it appears they have apologized(see below). The apology is remarkably humble, and while it does not erase the incident, it certainly helps to assuage the outrage. I cannot recall another mega company under similar circumstances that came out with such a statement.

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

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There has been a fair amount of hype lately about the Kindle, the electronic reader from Amazon.com. Here’s Megan McArdle’s review of it. She calls it the best thing since sliced bread.

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