just a little bit o’ controversy with a dash of irony thrown in

July 20, 2009

yes, Amazon messed up royally this past week by removing a couple of George Orwell titles from the accounts of Kindle customers, “1984” and “Animal Farm.”  apparently, the versions were not authorized.  Amazon is well within its rights to remove titles from a Kindle accounts based on the terms of service.  But it begs a couple of questions: just what are the rights of readers when it comes to ebooks and how did Amazon allow illegal Kindle copies to be uploaded?

today’s Shelf Awareness provided a list of media sources covering the controversy:

Amazon’s decision late last week to remove copies of George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm from its customers’ Kindles sparked widespread controversy, anger among owners of the e-reader and irresistible opportunities for headline writers:

Amazon.com Plays Big Brother With Famous E-Books (New York Times)
Kindle’s Orwellian Moment (Wall Street Journal)
Amazon Kindle users surprised by “Big Brother” move (Guardian)
Hey, Big Brother! Hands off my Kindle! (Baltimore Sun‘s Read Street blog)
Amazon sends Orwell to “memory hole” (AFP)
Big Kindle is Watching (American Conservative)
Amazon recalls (and embodies) Orwell’s 1984 (CNET News)

for more to ponder, check out Richard Stallman’s essay “The Right to Read,” published a little over 12 years ago, predicting such a world in which the reader is at the mercy of the corporations in the digital age.

(via numerous sources like Dear Author, Shelf Awareness, and PW)

posting by marin


3 Responses to “just a little bit o’ controversy with a dash of irony thrown in”

  1. Kathy S Says:

    What make the whole issue even more squirrelly is that Amazon didn’t wait for a court order confirming that a copyright owner’s rights had been violated. Someone merely claimed so. Does Amazon claim to be the arbiter of copyright claims, too

  2. […] Kindle, pdf, and so on), which app is allowed on which device, what it means to own an ebook, but not really own it, etc. […]

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