Kindle customers who saw George Orwell's Nineteen-Eighty-Four disappear from their screens have received an apology from Amazon's CEO, along with a copy of the book or $30 of restitution. Amazon sent out the apology, signed by CEO Jeff Bezos, saying the way they handled the situation was "stupid, thoughtless and painfully out of …
I wish more companies were like Amazon
I recently bought a book from them that turned out to be unreadable. It was a reprint edition with about half the pages offering black-on-white text and the other half black-on-mid-gray text, the latter effectively unreadable.
Why any publisher would release a book like that is beyond me.
At any rate, I was moaning about it to a friend and he said "why don't you return it?"
It turns out that Amazon is well set up for returns; I didn't even have to pay the postage to get the book back to them. And a few days after putting the book back in the mail, up pops an email saying my refund had been processed.
No fuss, no excuse-making, no avoidance, no double talk; just a straightforward return of goods "not fit for purpose."
In the case at hand, istm that the only thing wrong is that the offer of restitution came after, not before, the deletion of the e-text of 1984 from Kindles.
This is but one reason I would not want a Kindle, aside from the fact that it's huge. I want a device which allows me to sync with a computer and do backups of my media files.
It's a start
Ok, it's a start. Reinstating the book with an apology is what should have happened *the next day*. This is what, a month later?
Still, the PR beheading they took seems to have had some effect. I *still* don't hear them killing the delete feature in the Kindle. You can bet Sony is watching...
They actually pay a lot of attention to customer service- both with their own sales and marketplace sales. You tend to get polite, prompt service and the problem solved without complaint or cost to you. It makes a change, in this era of half-assed interweb sales with terriblereturns procedures.
The problem is the capability to unilaterally and retroactively cancel the sale and take away the content in the first place. Say you bought a DVD player made by company A. It works brilliantly, and upscales to your new HDTV fabulously. It turns out, however, that its design infringes upon company B's intellectual property. Company A i) stop selling their DVD player, but ii) to try to limit their liability further, they use records of sales of the DVD player to come round to your house, enter without permission, take your DVD player and leave a cheque for the price. No-one would argue that i) is entirely appropriate, but as regards ii)? Your purchase of the DVD player was legal, and the breach of company B's IP doesn't make it any less so. Regardless of whose IP is infringed, the DVD player is yours, and company A has no right to take it away at all. The issue of when restitution was offered is irrelevant; the purchased product should not have been taken.
You example with a DVD player is almost exactly how BluRay works.
Except with BluRay if they brick your player you don't get any cheques and should consider yourself lucky if you don't get a court summons instigated by some "IP rights" enforcement racket.
The difference with digital content...
If I buy a book and it turns out that the seller infringed someone else's copyright then the seller get's to pay a nice fat cheque to the copyright holder. In the digital world they just cancel the transactions because I never bought anything, I bought limited rights to use digital content and agreed to the terms and conditions of the transaction. If you want to own a book, buy a book. If you want to rent some content then buy an ebook reader.
It's worse than that... not only do they "come round to your house, enter without permission, take your DVD player and leave a cheque for the price," but they come round to your house, knock over your handmade ceramic vase and smash it the floor (your notes and annotations), take the DVD player and leave a cheque for the price of the DVD player, screwing you over for the value of your vase.
Personally, I hope the student who sued Amazon continues to press his suit - it was for work he needed to finish this summer, so he must have put in time re-creating those notes. Having Amazon return them to him now is "too little, too late."
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