Amazon Doesn’t Reassure Kindle Users By Offering To Replace 1984

Amazon is trying to compensate those who had copies of George Orwell’s 1984 deleted from their Kindle in July. It might be too late as the harm was already done in showing the problem of having books which people believed they had purchased under the control of others:

The troubles began when the novels were added to the Kindle’s online store by an outside company that did not have rights to them. After the rights holder alerted Amazon, it removed the unauthorized versions from its systems and from customers’ devices, distributing refunds.

But neither the refunds nor the subsequent apology were enough for some critics, who said the incident underscored the depth of the restrictions built into the Kindle. Digital books for the Kindle are sold with so-called digital rights management software, which allows Amazon to maintain strict control over the copies of electronic books on its reader and prevents other companies from selling books for the device.

Consumer advocates and civil libertarians say the system could allow courts or governments to force Amazon to recall, and in essence censor, books that they deem politically dangerous or embarrassing.

The critics say the problem arises not just with Amazon, but also with other services offered online, like Google’s planned digital library or streaming music and video sites, that replace tangible products like books, CDs or DVDs.

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8 Comments

  1. 1
    Eclectic Radical says:

    Well, the logical answer to this is that First Amendments rights should and do apply in cyberspace. Of course, this may not be he road actually walked by the Supreme Court.  We have at least four locked votes to censor material the right finds objectionable. I’m not certain about the record of the liberal justices (either the Sureme Court record of those with an existing history on the subject nor the federal court records of Justice Sotomayor), so I can’t say there aren’t a few votes to censor material they find objectionable. It all comes down to what Anthony Kennedy thinks of the First Amendment.
     
    Supreme Court analysis aside, the only logical and ‘American’ decision is to support free expression rights in cyberspace under the First Amendment.
     
    The dispute over The Anarchist’s Cookbook settled the question as regarding physical publishing. I don’t see how the web should not be covered by the same findings.
     

  2. 2
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