Skip to comments.Amazon Erases Orwell Books From Kindle
Posted on 07/21/2009 11:54:55 AM PDT by nickcarraway
In George Orwells 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People who bought the rescinded editions of the books reacted with indignation, while acknowledging the literary ironies involved.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,
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
I don’t know what the word is for this type of irony but I see images of a snake eating itself in between two mirrors that reflect ad infinitum...
And we all know who the number one Kindle fan is...
And still I see 0 point in owning a Kindle.
Reminds me of Al Gore living in a mansion, flying all over the world, and eating the fanciest richest chow. All while telling everyone else to live like cavemen to avoid some fake enemy.
While I like my Kindle I’ve found this story disturbing. Hope it’s a one-shot, since Amazon has gotten a lot of bad publicity here. They should have erased the book from their server but not from their customers’ Kindles without first getting their permission.
Here's what I see:
Not ironic at all.
Respecting PROPERTY RIGHTS is not government censorship.
No way, no how.
art is subjective, indeed. but we can sure both dig your tagline.
Orwell told Malcolm Muggeridge that Bog Brother was the BBC.
Can’t they be charged with theft?
I used to read books onmy Palm TX. It was great. Always had abook at hand. Ended up with like 600.
How long does a copyright last?
Apparently it's a rights issue, Amazon didn't have the rights to that edition of the book. Technically they were in the right to delete all copies, it's just that it smells bad, plus they deleted the notes of at least one person who was doing a school project, which was doubleplusungood. By refunding the customers money it isn't theft, just lousy business practice.
Reasons we like it:
1) Over 300,000 titles available. Many older titles are free, or $0.99 each.
2) Download books via wireless. No waiting in line. No out of stock titles.
3) Holds over 1,000 books in memory, but is the size of a couple of paperbacks.
4) A battery charge is good for DAYS, not hours.
5) Newspaper and magazine subscriptions are delivered automatically and wirelessly. They are just THERE to read.
6) Email other books / documents to Kindle for automatic conversion.
7) Free book samples before buying.
And still I see 0 point in owning a Kindle.
For the CONSUMER, they make little sense. That $300 could be better spent on a netbook (same size as a Kindle) that can be used for multiple purposes (including reading electronic books.)
For AMAZON, they make a lot of sense. You are locked into purchsing titles from them, and they can control the content on the device.
How long does a copyright last? The term of copyright for a particular work depends on several factors, including whether it has been published, and, if so, the date of first publication. As a general rule, for works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. For an anonymous work, a pseudonymous work, or a work made for hire, the copyright endures for a term of 95 years from the year of its first publication or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first. For works first published prior to 1978, the term will vary depending on several factors. To determine the length of copyright protection for a particular work, consult chapter 3 of the Copyright Act (title 17 of the United States Code). More information on the term of copyright can be found in Circular 15a, Duration of Copyright, and Circular 1, Copyright Basics.
Far too long.
It should be something like a patent, IMO: 20 years.
If I recall correctly, this is significanlty longer than previous law, which I think was 28 yrs renewable once.
Unlike a patent, a copyright doesn’t prevent the progression of new ideas and inventions.
It would seem that Orwell’s work is outside the law, since it was published before 1978 and he is clearly dead.
The length of time since Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse plus zero to twenty years, depending on how close it is to when Congress needs to lengthen copyrights again.
Did they ever solve the whole “Winnie the Pooh” thing?
Kindle is worse than the ipod....
You can’t do the following:
1) Lend the book to anybody.
2) Sell your digital copy to anybody like you could a regular book.
3.....and now, you don’t even own it really.
I will never buy a Kindle.
At least the ipod’s hiccups are mostly easily fixed if you want to copy the music off onto your computer etc.
geeze absolutly not now.
The remote screwing with your library should not be allows period.
Amazon could literally erase ALL books. (on your and everyone’s kindle)
>>How long does a copyright last?
>Far too long.
>It should be something like a patent, IMO: 20 years.
Maybe 40 years, or perhaps the life of the author... (there are plenty of books that have become popular after 25 years while the author is still alive) but certainly not what exists.
That’s a good reason not to get a Kindle. I mean I understand what they did and it’s right most of the way, if they company they bought from didn’t have the rights then they need to stop selling it. But, I hate active devices that can have stuff deleted from them remotely without my involvement.
It is already in the public domain in other countries...well before us.
I understand the rights issue, but does that negate our rights? If they had published a paperback accidentally, could they come take it out of my house without permission? Even if they left $.99 on the counter?
That’s probably why it’s a good idea to read the “Terms of Service”.
Not that we could understand it.
Or read it in helvetica 2pt.
Or finish it.
Disney lobbied to change the law because steamboat willie was about to enter the public domain.
“Terms of Service”
I’ve considered getting one since I got to play with it a few months ago. Not considering it any more. If they can do that remotely, what else can they do? I think they sell news articles. I’d had to archive an interesting article and find it’s been deleted (or worse changed) when I go back to read it. News articles on the web can be changed too, but if I find an interesting one I can save it to my local drive that nobody can delete or modify (at least no legally).
Granted, but I am for 20-year copyrights just because they keep getting longer.
It’s ridiculous to expect two centuries to pass before something goes into the public domain.
They refunded the customers’ money.
Oh cruel, cruel irony...
I’m one of the people that this affects. I downloaded Animal Farm and 1984 last month, and I’ve already finished them. I didn’t know about this until I got an email last week from Amazon that they were crediting my account for the cost of the book ($0.88)+tax, and removing it from their list. They said they were expecting to have an authorized edition soon. Animal Farm did disappear from my Kindle.
1984 is still there, though. Either they haven’t processed it yet, or they have worked out the licensing already.
I briefly entertained the idea of e-mailing them back that I had already read the books... should I proceed to forget them as well?
I'm not a lawyer but I suspect the answer might well be yes.
I would never trust a Big Brother device or service like the Kendall, iPod, or iTunes. I’ll read books and listen to music I download myself on p2p networks on my netbook.
precisely why we cannot allow ink and paper to vanish
I’m not so much bothered by the length, but it’s hardly arbritrary.
Didn’t Disney lobby Congress heavily over the “Winnie the Pooh” copyrights, which were to revert to A.A. Milne’s descendents in the 1990s?
That intellectual property is worth BILLIONS.
If the seller provided me a hardcopy of the books I bought I would buy a Kindle today. However, as long as it is totally digital with no hardcopy, I will never buy one. I want to be able to resell my property, and I have yet to see a legal way to do that with a Kindle.
Now here's something about the Kindle that I really don't like. Amazon can access your device w/o your permission!
Hmmmm. Can having a TOS document that people sign off on supersede the law? My understanding is that it can’t.
There is nothing in the terms that gives them the right to delete the books though, that’s the thing.
If it was in there, we could just say it’s not good business practice...but Amazon violated their own terms of service.
Does this bug anyone besides me?
First it was, "Our requests to interview Mr. "X" were denied."
Then it was, "Our phone calls were not returned."
Now it's "No one answered the e-mail."
What's next? "Our tweets were ignored?"
Talk about blaming someone else because you're a bad reporter.
Copyright terms vary by country. That’s what tripped up the vendor of public domain works. Orwell’s books are out of copyright in Canada but not in the US.
Thanks to the Mighty Mickey, nothing will ever again pass out of copyright in the US.
Kendall uses .pdf right?
I’d back up anything on it, especially now that you know they can remotely access your files, read them, and delete them.
Hell, I’d burn the thing.