back to article Bezos begs forgiveness for Amazon's Big Brother moment

Jeff Bezos, boss of Amazon, has apologised for the stupid way his company went about deleting customer copies of George Orwell's 1984. He used a forum post for his firm's digital book device. Bezos said: This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle. Our "solution …

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Well

I suppose since their sale was unauthorised by the copyright holder that makes them stolen goods. In which case, those who bought them would not be allowed to keep them regardless.

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Silver badge

Nice apology

Thanks Mr Bezos. Makes a change for a top business to apologise for a cockup. Whatever next, the government?

To be honest, didn't think what Amazon did was too bad anyway - just a problem with timing of the email vs the actual deletion. Perhaps should have been a bit more careful with checking the copyright, but hey ho.

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Forget electric books

What's wrong with the print variety?

It's only so long before they determine the electronic kind gives you cancer of the eyes or something like that.

This is just another point of failure in the whole eBook thing.

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FAIL

Apology not accepted

Never buying a Kindle.

Advising everyone I know to steer well clear.

Damage done.

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Badgers

wow

is it an election year?

I'm more disturbed by how they don't seem to care about establishing copyright before they sell the book and are instead using the "wait and see if anyone complains" model. The law doesn't allow me to sell others people stuff as ebay proved when they pulled my listing for my neighbours annoying kids.

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Privacy offends Security and therefore is History in the Presently Evolving Future

So Kindle has a Default Remote Proxy Control/Trojan Facility/Embedded DRM? How very convenient in a chip that would be ........ http://www.intel.com/business/business-pc/demo/demo.htm?iid=prod_vpro+rhc_buspc_demo

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Anonymous Coward

On the doubleplusgood side

I don't think the Kindle users have missed much. After having just finished 1984 I cannot see what all the fuss over this particular novel is about, it's basically a sad love story and not a very good one at that.

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FAIL

Where's the apology?

Why do these companies think that classes as an apology? Does no one ever actually say sorry these days?

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Big Brother

All "licensing" is simply control by another name.

"Licensing" is another way to gain power over others to dictate to them terms the people in power want and very evidently they are willing to use their power over others. Companies using this legal smoke screen can use legal small print to give themselves the power to use it like an open door invitation to them to spy on what they still consider their property within our property and even take from us whenever they choose, as they have proven they will do.

So "licensing" is simply control by another name. Yet another way to maintain control over us and undermining our privacy all hidden in legal small print.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: On the doubleplusgood side

Yeah and some of the words in it are like, totally made up. Also, I was alive in 1984 and I don't remember any of that stuff happening at all. Rubbish.

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@Richard 120

Book cases can take up a fair bit of room and, if you travel a lot, can be difficult to transport.

Don't get me wrong, I like a good book and probably won't be buying an "eBook" until prices come down and the wrinkles are ironed out -- but they do have their uses.

RE:Where's the apology?

I think where he says "This is an apology..." and "With deep apology to our customers" are the apology part. Does one need to utter the word "sorry" to apologise?

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Stop

Apology not accepted.

The ability is still there, the abilty was put in in the first place. If they didn't mean to do this they wouldn't have given themselves the ability in the first place, and if they don't plan on doing it again they would remove the ability with firmware.

They are only apologising for getting caught - not for doing it. And they will do it again.

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Too good to be true

I just don't believe Amazon would make a mistake of this type so early in the Kindle cycle. With '1984', fer goodness' sake. They're just getting one over the publishers: yes it is technically possible to yank a book post-sale, and no we won't ever do it for you, and this is why

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Coat

@Sarah Bee

and I went to Brazil and it was nothing like Terry Gilliam's film either... Much preferred the film.

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Re: On the doubleplusgood side

Were you reading the special version with the big letters and pictures? It's, like, so not the Matrix is it?

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do people not want to make money these days?

put the same position into a tesco environment.

tesco get hold of a book and sell it.

book copyright owner finds out tesco is selling it

rather than claim the profit, they tell them to refund everyone.

so no one makes any money.....

sorry, but arent we in a recession, where everyone is trying to make SOME money so they dont go into bankrupcy atm?

Am i missing something but are the copyright holders just saying, we didnt say yes so no one can buy it?

WAKE THE FUCK UP!!!

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Joke

@ @Sarah Bee

The film of Animal farm wasn't anything like the book either

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Thumb Up

on the doubleplusbadside

its lucky that our comments on ElReg are not open to censorship by the faceless overlords..

Moderatrixes don't count of course Sarah

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FAIL

Book burning

This amounts to a book burning afaic, I was surprised that Amazon did it, but I wouldn't trust them not to do it again considering they designed the Kindle with that function.

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@Cameron Colley

Whilst bookcases can get excessive there are many publishers that sell eBooks where you purchase the eBook and not just a license (Baen books actually give lots of theirs away to entice people to read them and go out and buy books by the author, apparently this even works). All you need to do is put those on a USB drive and you can take them with you. At last count I had over 2,000 eBooks available to me whilst away from home and if you had a netbook you could have a readable screen on something not much bigger than these 'license only' offerings.

Oh, and I should mention that I have substantial more RealBooks (tm) in their original PaperPages (tm) format

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A lesson for Kindle buyers

(and to Blu-Ray users too): In future, don't buy DRM'ed crap.

RE: Well

This was not theft and the electronic books were not stolen. They were produced without permission from the rights owner. Equally Amazon did not steal anything - they infringed someone's rights, for which they alone were responsible - not their customers.

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@Book burning#

I love it! Now I can tell the friends who borrow my books and don't return them that it is tantamount to a book burning. Though you are right that this could make life a lot easier for the censors.

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We have the technology ..

What Amazon have done is basically shown the suckers, er, early adopters of Kindle just how powerful they are: they've waited until a shedload of customers downloaded the book and then deleted all traces, wholesale. Potential buyers are now only too aware that they shouldn't load unauthorised content onto the device as they know that it can be deleted, and in doing so, Amazon also know all the details that could be passed on to potentially litigious organisations.

Now all we need is for Apple to apply the same technology to the iPod range and then we'll see some real fireworks!

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@Vladimir Plouzhnikov

Love the fox -

http://www.slysoft.com/en/anydvdhd.html

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: On the doubleplusgood side

>Also, I was alive in 1984 and I don't remember any of that stuff happening at all.

Sarah, are you sure you don't remember or are just remembering what you are supposed to? How do you know for certain that it didn't, wasn't that the point?

@Jez Burns

>Were you reading the special version with the big letters and pictures?

No, I was unaware that one existed, however if you lend me yours I will let you know how closely it follows the real book.

1984 is not the book it's kicked up to be, plain and simple, that's my opinion. I suspect those that are most vociferous in their defence of the book should consider whether they genuinely believe what they say or are devoid of the free thought necessary to go against the majority, which is only a majority because of the emperor's clothes syndrome.

Animal Farm is a much more insightful book.

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Bod

More Fahrenheit 451 than 1984 perhaps

In the sense that you have no right to keep your book, you are just licenced. Taking the book away is akin to book burning.

And what if governments decide they want the power to stop people reading books by forcing revocation and/or deletion of DRM'd books they disagree with?

DRM is wrong, wrong, wrong. We've said it enough times. It's being used the wrong way too anyway.

You buy a book. It's yours to keep. Doesn't matter what the author, publisher, authorities or anyone else decides later. DRM, if it is to exist, should only prevent unauthorised copies that harm the author/publisher. Not prevent the purchaser from using it, in any form.

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This post has been deleted by its author

This post has been deleted by its author

Happy

Australia

If any Kindle owners who lost the books happen to be reading you can always sneak a copy from the Australian Gutenberg site:-

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks01/0100021.txt

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks01/0100011.txt

They have both freely available, but only to people outside of the USA, though they only warn you and don't prevent you seeing it. Of course I wont tell anyone if you don't.

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FAIL

Reply to On the doubleplusgood side

Context defines. This book was written around the time of WWII.

"The novel has become famous for its portrayal of pervasive government surveillance and control, and government's increasing encroachment on the rights of the individual. Since its publication, many of its terms and concepts, such as "Big Brother", "doublethink", and "Newspeak" have entered the popular vernacular. The word "Orwellian" itself has come to refer to anything reminiscent of the book's fictional regime. The book is generally considered to be George Orwell's magnum opus."

If you were reading a sad love story, then you may be been reading the remedial Cliff Notes.

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I'm on my third paper copy of 1984

... and neither conspiracies nor refunds were involved in the loss of the previous copies. There are risks, rewards and penalties with each type of purchase, so choose the format that fits you best at the time and stop your annoying childish whinging already.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Kevin Johnston

PaperPages? Are you talking about books printed on paper?

I've heard of this nonsense and it must be stopped. If the rabble is able to disseminate information amongst itself it could become hazardous.

This must not be allowed.

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Tust

Amazon has just shown that they are incapable of being trusted with your information stored in their cloud.

Congratulations Amazon you just gave me a very cheap and useful insight into your morality which has led me to cease using any of your products which I can no longer trust will not compromise me or anyone I expose to them on a website.

What is wrong with text file ebooks anyway. They still work for me. Kindle is just yet another cash induced information power grab from a big multinatioinal. This has to stop.

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Big Brother

1984 vs 2009

Constant war with Eurasia (afghanistan, Iraq), check.

Invasive surveillance of its citizens, check

two way TV to watch you in your home, deep packet inspection via internet (the new TV), check

Newspeak txtspk lolcats bbq!1 wat u doing? chck

Revision of history, chocolate rations increased, not quite there yet, but with the temporary reality that the 'net gives us, not too far away now

Getting children to report their parents for aberrant behaviour - fearing children, check

Proles (proletariat), unable to effect any part of their lives, check

Fear and anxiety and distrust over police state, double plus good - check

Illegal to fall in love and a big brother figurehead is the only thing wrong in this prophetic warning

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We were warned

Six months ago bloggers (notably Stephanie at UrbZen) warned about this kind of thing.

See:

http://notionscapital.wordpress.com/2009/07/25/kindle-see-we-told-you-so/

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A lot of people say eBooks aren't like real books

This makes the Kindle more like an actual bookshelf. I've often gone to get a book and thought "I'm sure I had a copy of that."

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Badgers

contessa

DRM is wrong. end of.

something that I have purchased is mine. I'm really not sure why they find this such a difficlut concept to grasp.

As for 1984... I'm not sure the book itself is particularly good BUT the concepts and ideas it expressed wereway ahead of their time and without doubt very prophetic in nature and its that aspect of the book that makes it such a classic IMO

I also hold controversial views on Lord Of The Rings, which is without doubt the written in the most boring and tedious style ever which is a real shame because the STORY is fantastic.

I've tried to read LotR since I was a teenager.. easily 5 or 6 times... I have never once made it to the end.

1984 on the other hand I've always finished... 4 times now.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: contessa

>without doubt very prophetic

There is nothing in the book that was not already history. Orwell himself said that from time immemorial the upper classes have tried to keep the lower classes in their place by oppression. The only difference is that with each new generation there have been advances in technology that make it easier.

As for the check list

Constant war with Eurasia - crusades, check. In actual fact this is a more accurate description as the wars of Orwell's 1984 are between like minded civilisations in that they wish to control their citizens using the same methods, in this case religion. Also the tenet that three geographical regions can be always at war with one of their neighbours and at peace with the other is not logically possible.

Invasive surveillance of its citizens - Inquisition, check. Also responsible for torturing people in order to cleanse their soul before being executed.

two way TV to watch you in your home - refer to new technology remark above.

Newspeak - sermons in latin, check

Revision of history - earth now round not flat, check.

Getting children to report their parents for aberrant behaviour - snitching as always gone on, check

Proles (proletariat), unable to effect any part of their lives - surfs, check

Fear and anxiety and distrust over police state - witchfinder general etc, check

Illegal to fall in love - sex is a sin except for the purpose of child bearing, check

and a big brother figurehead is the only thing wrong in this prophetic warning - history wins here as the pope and other heads of religions take this position.

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