back to article Amazon vanishes 1984 from citizen Kindles

In an irony-filled moment that underlines the flaws of our increasingly digital society, Amazon has removed George Orwell's 1984 from America's Kindle ebook readers. As noticed by one loyal Reg reader - and by the ebullient David Pogue of The New York Times - Amazon vanished the Kindle incarnations of both 1984 and Animal Farm …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meh

    There's already been a big discussion on the mobileread.com 'News and Discussion' forum about them deleting Ayn Rand content. To hell with any company that blithely remotely wipes files from your device (files that you bought in good faith) after they fcuked up. Refund or not, that's not acceptable to me.

  2. Jonathan Richards 1
    Thumb Up

    For maximum irony effect...

    ... this should have been deletion of Pilgrim's Progress, and/or Fahrenheit 451.

    1984 is pretty good, though. Nice effort.

  3. Mage Silver badge
    Flame

    On paper

    Even on paper you should memorise them as quickly as you can.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farenheit_451

  4. Graham Marsden
    Big Brother

    We...

    ... control what you read!

  5. TruthSeeker
    WTF?

    Control of whats read?

    I understand the intent of this article but, it raises a question. What if governments don't like what is available to be read. Will Amazon just do what it did in this situation? I would hate to see the demise of publications because a group doesnt agree with its content. Agree or disagree, eBooks are convenient except when they can vanish overnight. There still is much to say about print. Additionally, I am a Kindle owner.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Would this work both ways?

    I'd like to see someone post their Kindle back to Amazon and reverse the credit card charge without warning or explanation.

  7. adifferentbob
    Big Brother

    well the kindle owners can't say they weren't warned.

    Oooh nasty cockup, and how appropriate that it happened to those titles especially BB. I was of the understanding that the t&cs of the Kindle did state that you were not buying but merely buying a non-transferable license that could be revoked - which is why I will avoid the kindle like the plague if it ever comes to the UK.

    ebooks have their place - I have mobipocket and a modest library on my phone and pda in case of emergency but the amazon business model is sucky, and this incident serves to underline that.

    Still this should get all the paranoids out there fulminating nicely. Let games commence.

    George - who else !

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    The future

    I love reading books on my iPhone in the bath and in the car, and admit that this has got me into reading published works after a 20 year gap. I do worry for the future though when books will be all but gone and all human knowledge is in the Cloud 2.0 from where it can be all instantly magically disappeared by the illuminati and he with one eye who approves of their undertaking.

  9. Kelly 4

    Big Conceptual Limitation for the Kindle

    "Amazon doesn't actually sell ebooks. It licenses them. And if it's licensing pirated books on a private network - with the ability to pull them back at any time - is it required to pull them back? To avoid the Orwellian removal of books from your book collection, we suggest purchasing Orwell on paper."

    Of course it's ironic that this happened with 1984. I wonder if this happened to every Kindle owner who had purchased one of the two titles, or if some Kindle owners were more equal than others.

    This hadn't occurred to me, but appears to be a major conceptual limitation of using the Kindle. So everything you "purchase" from Amazon is really "licensed," and Amazon has the right to yank it back every time some third party claims copyright infringement. Copyright law is a complete mess, of course, with no comprehensive regime in place to track rights transfers, so people are constantly coming out of the woodwork claiming to have some sort of right to something that is being distributed. So for all but the most mainstream titles, it would seem your hold to Amazon-purchased titles for your Kindle is somewhat tenuous.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Proprietary formats vs. right of control over your own computing devices.

    Don't give it up folks, or this is the sort of shit that bigcorpco plc will always pull on you. Open formats and open source code are good ways to make sure you retain that control. We should not accept the notion that the manufacturer or supplier of something has any rights over it whatsoever after they've sold it to you, and we need to start insisting that we're buying a physical product and not licensing the right to listen to a tune or read to a book or whatever loophole they think they can claim to deny us our property rights.

  11. copsewood
    Pirate

    hail our new digital overlords

    "Well, they might have chosen Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451."

    My pragmatic German grandfather put his Jewish-authored books less visibly behind other German authored books on his bookshelves during the Nazi regime (when those more prone to mass hysteria were burning the former) and he switched these books around after liberation during denazification.

    Richard Stallman predicted this kind of thing in his "Right to Read" short story in 1997: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html

    Copyright extremism and democracy don't combine.

  12. Mei Lewis
    FAIL

    I though Amazon were a bookSELLER

    Obviously not.

  13. Nomen Publicus
    Big Brother

    bigger brother to come?

    As i understand it, 1984 is still in copyright in the US but out of copyright in other countries.

    Are we to expect books to auto-magically disappear when a kindle is taken across a country boundary?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    excellent article

    It is easy to vanish a book; this is like remotely controlled file deletion.

    If I had any data registered on some file server, eg amazon.com; or any bank with financial information; it would be cool to delete the personal data, simply resetting my depts. The same way amazon deletes our data. Very few hackers are able to enter a storage system, delete some files and even delete the traces. But amazon has proven that it is possible. And possibly legal. sincerely yours, 0x81802954

  15. Big Al
    Alien

    Meh.

    A timely reminder of why renting books isn't the same as buying them... All your libraries are belong to us!

  16. raving angry loony

    settles it.

    Well, this settles it for me. I will now never EVER purchase a Kindle (assuming it is ever made available where I live) or anything else that doesn't allow me to OWN the books I purchase without some twatdangle coming in behind my back and deleting them.

  17. W
    Big Brother

    I haven't used a Kindle

    but I'm not likely to in a hurry going on this informatiom. This scenario makes the Kindle ebooks sound much more like loans or rentals than actual purchases, which is A Bad Thing. If the ebooks are actually rentals of an in(de)finite period, rather than purchases, they should be sold as such.

  18. Eldnah
    FAIL

    Just wrong

    TRT2D would have been for Amazon to publicly acknowledge they hadn't vetted the seller properly, stop selling the ebook, and compensate the *copyright owner* for the unauthorized titles that Amazon had fenced --- then pursue legal remedies against the provider of the ebook.

    Vandalizing customers' electronic homes by removing something the customer had acquired in good faith is just wrong. Huge black mark against Amazon. I've been toying with the thought of getting a Kindle of some flavour. No longer. Add this to the one-click patent nonsense and Amazon's out of my picture for good.

    Thanks for helping me make my decision, Amazon!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Thanks again for shopping with us

    Dear Citizen

    Thank you for downloading the recent speech by your glorious Leaderene, Chairperson Amazonia to your Kindle two-way telescreen. Recdep is aware of malreports in oldthinker journals (such as The Register) ref citizens downloading ungood literature. Bellyfeel that Thinkpol is monitoring citizens who misuse Kindle tech suchwise. Fullwise account follows:

    One speech (one only) downloaded (since Kindle purchased) - Please confirm speedwise to avoid Thinkpol visit.

    Thanks again for shopping with us.

  20. Scottvet

    Scott

    Double plus good Brothers, Orwell now unperson.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clouds

    Welcome to the brave new world of cloud computing. When everything - even the books you read - relies on your Net connection, you own nothing and have no presumed rights, you only have those rights that you can afford to assert after the fact. No court is needed to sieze your property, no injunction can act quickly enough to prevent your business documents being deleted from the cloud, no police have juristiction over the foreign servers that leak your personal details to anyone with the money to pay for them.

    Imagine what happens to kindle users who have a large library of out-of-copyright books when the US government decides to retroactively extend copyright again. Suddenly, all your books go up in electronic flames. And what about other legally owned books that someone decides are not legitimate reporting but slander and gets a court to order the withdrawl of that book - or sections of that book - from circulation? History and journalism are wiped out in the blink of an eye. If you happen to have the book open at the right page, will you actually be able to watch the words morph into the new reality in real-time?

    As we move more of our lives online we give more and more power over our lives to the people who control the Net and the various websites we start to rely on, yet they have no responsibilities to us. This is not a good way to run a free society. It is, however, a great way to run a totalitarian one.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    they have control over the device?

    ... after you have bought it? sounds like Apple to me.

    any way, I still don't understand why it is treated as an acceptable behavior for companies to maintain control over the hardware _after_ you have paid for it.

    the license agreement (which no one reads anyway) is no longer there to protect the company, it is now in place to state that the company still have control over what you paid for and how you can use. The license agreement should _NOT_ be able to tell you what you can and can not do with a device, it should just cover the liability in case the device fails.... the same with every other device (like a the TV, Car or PC).

    P.S. what about the bank charges... who will pay those? oh silly me... the customer will.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    I Was...

    thinking about getting one (if/when available in the UK), but if Amazon can remotely delete a book from a reader without asking the owner first, they can stuff it; I'll continue using my old lappy!

  24. pctechxp
    Megaphone

    Stop whining

    At least they gave you a refund, thery could of kept your money and considered it a preroder

  25. G-HAM 2000

    PR Disaster

    And it could have been largely averted if Amazon has contacted customers to offer some degree of notice and an explanation of why it would be necessary to remove the eBooks from their Kindles and providing some sort of gift voucher for a different title for free or something, for the inconvenience in addition to a refund.

    I don't see any major issue over Amazon removing material from user's kindles, that they previously sold to them, provided it's upfront and honest, and made more explicit that you're licensing books rather than purchasing them outright, when you purchase a Kindle/eBook. Getting your kickers in a twist over that part alone seems like a huge overreaction given the raririty of such incidents and the massively beneficial trade off of the Kindle versus paper books.

  26. Imagus
    Big Brother

    Buy something else...

    This is exactly why I don't want a Kindle or any other wireless reading device. There are plenty of other decent e-readers around - without this wireless nonsense that's only there to control or keep track of what you're reading.

    On the positive side, maybe this silly move from Amazon will make Orwell's book even more popular now - there are still too many people who haven't read it, or who don't have a clue what it's actually about.

  27. Do Not Fold Spindle Mutilate
    Happy

    Aussies to the rescue. Doubleplusgood.

    The wonderful non-Google project Gutenberg has a copy in Australia:

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

    Of course the legality of having this copy depends on your country's copyright law.

    "Ignorance is Strength"

  28. jim 45
    Thumb Down

    Bungee Books

    G.HAM - So some goons from Amazon came into your house while you were gone, and took back some of the paper books they sold you. But it's ok because they sent you a letter saying they might do that, and it's a "rarity".

    No thanks. I think the post by Robert Long says it all, and this incident has been a bit of an eye-opener to me. I intend to own the content I buy - music, books, video, whatever. It's my intellectual landscaping, and I don't think of my back yard garden as a rental, which might be bulldozed during the night.

    So what Amazon sells now is "Bungee Books". They have long elastic strings attached, and might be yanked back at any time.

  29. Alexander Hanff 1
    WTF?

    Both published pre 1959 - out of copyright?

    Corrrect me if I am wrong but copyright on books is 50 years pretty much most places apart from the US - which would put both books out of copyright. I wonder if the original seller is from the EU or from the US?

  30. Alexander Hanff 1
    Stop

    Another point

    Umm I have just checked and even under US law these should be out of copyright since they were first created/published before 1978 and should therefore only be covered for 28 years meaning copyright ran out in 1973 and 1977 for Animal Farm and 1984 respectively. It is possible that in 1976 the rights holders of 1984 might have renewed copyright but I don't think that would be applicable for Animal Farm as it was out of copyright prior to 1976 when the new regulations came into play...

    1984 could have theoretically just managed it but even that is unlikely I think.

  31. Hugo 1
    Dead Vulture

    Irony

    I think I'm right in saying this isn't irony. It's perfectly appropriate, as you say yourself in the bootnote.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2003/jun/28/weekend7.weekend2

  32. Sooty

    @g-ham 2000

    as you say, it's not the removal of the book that was really the issue, you have hit the nail on the head with saying it was all around amazon's communication, or lack of. If they had simply pushed out a message saying

    we are sorry, but they ownership of this book, provided by a third party, has come into question, so we have been compelled to withdraw it until the ownership has been established. In compensation we have refunded to your account what you have paid for the book, and when the ownership is established and the current situation resolved we will be happy to add the book back into your account for free.

    i can guarantee a message like that would have made this a non-issue, and if they had also added a credit to your account amounting to the average price of a book, to sweeten it, they would have been praised on the way they handled a difficult situation.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Sony reader

    I am so glad to have a Sony Ereader. It isn't directly connected to the store, so no such stuff can happen - plus I can install any public domain ebooks I wish.

  34. Mike Richards

    My problem with this is...

    The customer is the one who really loses out.

    They bought (or licensed) the title from Amazon in good faith. Presumably Amazon were given the rights to those titles by the publisher. So it looks like the publisher goofed. In the olden days the publisher might have been expected to eat their loss. But not here.

    A mature solution might have been for the publisher to stop further sales as soon as they noticed the error. They've lost nothing so far. After all, they got their royalties from each Kindle user. The books are DRMed up to the eyeballs so can't be copied (ahem) - so there's no risk of them spreading further (cough). The problem would have been contained, there'd have been no unhappy customers and Amazon wouldn't look bad.

    Certainly Amazon should have behaved in a more consumer-friendly manner towards customers who've invested a hell of a lot of money in the company's eBook strategy - those are A-list customers guaranteed to come back time and time again, now they're pissed off. And they're letting the world know.

    And like a lot of people here, it's really cooled me towards buying a Kindle.

  35. G-HAM 2000

    @ jim 45

    No obviously not, as that's a ludicrous example and unrelated to what I said. If Amazon make it explicitly clear in their licensing agreements that eBooks downloaded via Whispernet are on a license basis, and not owned outright, and Amazon reserve the right to remove files for reasons such as this, then yes that's perfectly acceptable, and if you aren't comfortable, simply don't get a Kindle - most people however are probably quite happy with that trade off in exchange for the convenenience over other eReaders and physical books.

    If there were a license agreement when purchasing a physical book that Amazon could come to your house and remove it, then you most likely would purchase the book elsewhere, wouldn't you? And if not, then you can't complain if and when that actually occurs.

  36. Bill Cumming
    FAIL

    @ Alexander Hanff 1

    According to the New York times 1984's US copyright expires in 2044!!!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/18/technology/companies/18amazon.html

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    G-HAM

    "If there were a license agreement when purchasing a physical book that Amazon could come to your house and remove it, then you most likely would purchase the book elsewhere, wouldn't you? And if not, then you can't complain if and when that actually occurs."

    I think you're missing the bigger issue here, which is what happens when the local law is changed and they come knocking on your door/kindle for works that you were perfectly entitled to when you paid for them, as well as a variety of other situations.

  38. Tony Paulazzo
    FAIL

    Backups?

    From Google:

    The files are in a standard format (mobipocket with the extension changed to azw). They do have Amazon DRM on them, but you can still back them up over the USB connection.

    You can of course also break the DRM; the program to do that is here: REMOVED

    Mantra to my customers, 'backup, backup, backup!'

    But yea, thanks to this story, I'm no longer waiting for the Kindle to arrive in the UK.

  39. Helldesk Dogsbody
    FAIL

    That'll be why...

    ...I own somewhere in the region of 1,000 books with no trace of an electronic variant in sight. The written word in it's best form doesn't need batteries or access rights from big brother. I bought it, it's mine to read where and when I choose.

  40. The Vociferous Time Waster
    Pirate

    calm down crazies

    I've bought some books in the past but never the content within them. When you go down to the bookstore and buy a novel you are buying the printed paper but you are licensing the content. That's why you can't photocopy it or change the name of the author to your own because you don't own the content.

    All that's happened is that the world has changed and the mediums have changed but everything else has stayed the same; the freetards and the crazies don't seem to realize this.

    So Amazon did the equivalent of photocopying a book and selling it on. They then found out they didn't have the rights to do so and had effectively sold some people some stolen goods. Their response was that they did the equivalent of popping round your house and stealing the stolen goods back while leaving you a refund.

    What could possibly be wrong with that?

  41. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge
    FAIL

    Not crazies, and possible solution

    @The Vociferous, these guys aren't crazies. Say what you want about "licensing" the content and all that, but with a book, you can resell it, and it's not going to just go up in flames if the publisher goes belly up or gets in a catfight. DRM-restricted systems have problems with this.

    That said, it was made clear right from the start that Kindle's DRM was heavy, including revoking files, disable functionality of the device on certain files (text-to-speech for instance) and so on. The cost didn't help but this really cut my interest out for it.

    My general idea for a DRM replacement is a watermarking. 1) Put watermarks on files and make it clear it's watermarked. 2) Find watermarked files on P2P, and hastle the owner of the file.

    *Any* DRM or watermarking system can be defeated. BUT: 1) This is customer-friendly, it will not restrict backing the file up, moving it from one machine to another, etc. 2) Defeating DRM is a noble cause, it restores fair use rights and usage like in point 1, and playback of files on the hardware, OS, and player of my choice. It's obvious when the DRM is broken, the file works. This attracts talented people to breaking any and all new forms of DRM "they" come up with. 3) Defeating watermarking would ONLY be useful for piracy. This makes removing watermarks ideologically less attractive than DRM cracking. The only way to *know* if the watermarking has been obscured or removed is to put a file online and see if you get your ass sued. This makes watermark removal an unsafe pursuit, making it even less attractive. 4) I figure this would then make electronic files very unattractive to put on P2P, while restoring customer rights DRM-restricted files take away.

  42. jim 45
    FAIL

    stole property?

    "they did the equivalent of popping round your house and stealing the stolen goods back while leaving you a refund. What could possibly be wrong with that?"

    Assuming you're serious - quite a few things.

    When I buy a printed copy of a novel, you're correct that I don't own the content. Howerver, I do own the printed copy, and even if it turns out that the publisher cheated the author, the printed copy isn't "stolen property"

    I seriously doubt that this is the first time a publisher has inadvertently sold copies of a work for which they didn't have the rights. And I seriously doubt that anyone has been forced to return their printed copy as a result. If the bookseller tried to protect himself from legal action - from the author - by surreptitiously taking back my printed copy, then it would indeed become stolen property, even if he left a $20 bill in its place.

  43. Andrew Punch
    Black Helicopters

    Back to the ministry of information...

    for a few "improvements".

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    How often has Amazon conspired with China?

    To remove books on Chinese citizen's Kindles of books on the Dali Lama or Tiananmen Square?

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    It wasn't written in newspeak

    so it went to room 101

  46. P. Lee Silver badge
    Grenade

    This is why people don't trust electronic media

    The solution is generally: download -> print

    Amazon would probably have been better off settling with the rights-holder and just stopping further sales.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    @ Do Not Fold Spindle Mutilate

    "The wonderful non-Google project Gutenberg has a copy in Australia:

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

    Thanks!! Copy on my hard drive. They'll have to rootkit my computer to get it off :)

    And this is why I'd buy a file or a dead tree edition but no way would I touch anything that lets The Man decide to 'discontinue' what I've just paid for. (I've actually got a dead tree copy already so I guess I've paid my dues anyway, but the digital version's handy for quote mining :)

    Won't touch DRM stuff either, unless there's a way to make a backup. I'm not looking to pirate it but no way am I going to be held hostage to one supplier's hardware.

    WAR IS PEACE

    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

    PROPERTY IS THEFT

    ... pick the odd one out

    (Egads, you've even got the right icon!)

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just a hint

    This sounds to be an Amazon USA story and yet there is no mention of a class action lawsuit to claim a share of the interest that Amazon potentially made on having all that money in their coffers before it was refunded not to mention compensation for the long term psychological effects and distress on the purchasers due to the loss of that interest.

  49. Matt D 3
    Big Brother

    Perhaps a more appropriate title to remove would be...

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Book-Thief-Markus-Zusak/dp/0552773891

  50. jubtastic1
    Black Helicopters

    This doesn't sit right with me

    I mean it too perfectly illustrates the shortcomings of Amazons Kindle and their licensing agreements, It's [s]hard[/s] impossible to imagine that either Amazon or the publisher requesting the books removal were ignorant of the sort of sensational media coverage this would guarantee.

    I suspect Amazon was gamed here by a competitor that saw a stinking great whole in their business model and exploited it to maximum effect.

    Still facts are facts, so I guess we should thank whoever is behind this for bringing it to our attention, astonishingly incompetent of Amazon to think this issue wouldn't be a problem for Kindle sales.

  51. Dan 10
    Unhappy

    @Clouds by Robert Long1

    +10

    Comment of the thread.

  52. Smitty
    Thumb Up

    How is it legal?

    Correct me if I am wrong, but don't personal ownership rights trump EULAs?

    How can a company legally remove/alter the contents of a device I won with first seeking my permission? I know Amazon can say "we have permission in the EULA" , but I could always say "don't care, my property, sue me if you don't like it" and I doubt there is a lot they could do about it.

    A real world example might involve a book shop selling a book in good faith, but finding out that the publisher did not have rights to produce that particular book. Can they refund purchasers credit cards and then demand the books are returned? Nope, so why is the electronic world any different?

  53. MinionZero
    Big Brother

    We control your books and what you read, because we control you. Welcome to the new Internet...

    @Robert Long 1, Well said, I totally agree.

    When the Internet first started to grow it looked like some kind of Utopian opportunity to share knowledge, but its slowly being transformed into a means to control and micro manage the lives of everyone connected to it for the personal gain of the minority in power over the Internet.

    Ruthless companies like Phorm show just how little empathy some people have for others in their Narcissistic rush for personal gain at the expense of others. Yet politicians fail to protect us from such ruthless exploitation by these kinds of companies because the unspoken rule of politics is that they also ultimately seek to exploit their position of power for their own personal gain. They all know knowledge is power and the Internet is knowledge so they want to control that power.

    All the while the Internet is an ever growing global database storing ever more of everyones life and views. Each bit of media they own and create leaks some aspect of their life views, ready and waiting for ever more automated data mining to profile them into different psychologically sorted groups, but few see the real danger in this.

    People who seek true power care little for individuals, they are far more interested in seeking personal gain by exploiting groups of people and the means to manipulate a group is first finding which psychologically sorted groups they belong to and then offering them false "carrot on a stick" style inducements that manipulate that group towards goals the people in power want. Throughout history people who seek power exploit the "Fears and Desires" of people for their own gain, all the while finding ways to identify and hold back opponents to their goals.

    Wielding true power is a numbers game. Find ways to make more opponents lives harder than supporters, then overall the people with the power win. Plus they don't have to stop all opponents they simply have to use divide and conquer to break up opposing groups of people. One good tactic is simply to use lies to distract the majority of opponents, after all the ends justify the means as the personal gain of the people in power is more important than honesty and as for fairness, they know there is no real fairness in a world where some people (just like them) fight to control the lives of others, so they can easily find ways (in their minds) to justify using lies to manipulate groups of people. Plus if the lies and manipulation fail, there's always the old favorite of using punishments against opponents simply by enforcing taxes and council red tape more on opponents than supporters to distract them from being opponents.

    Throughout history people who seek power ultimately seek the personal gain that power gives them, yet we know knowledge is power and the Internet is a vast and growing source of knowledge, so is it any wonder people who seek power seek to control the Internet. Yet few people still see the growing danger of a minority of people gaining such growing power over the majority of people as always for the personal gain of the minority in power. The lessons of history have not been learned by enough people. Sadly it looks like we are going to end up repeating the mistakes of the past.

    Still its more than a bit ironic they removed the book 1984, but then it is already banned in some countries. Wonder why?

  54. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    My Kindle is immune

    I don't use whispernet at all (you can turn it off). I download the books to my Mac. Strip the DRM (I have 2 Kindles so the DRM makes it a pain) and then copy them to my Kindles.

    Works perfectly and *I* control my hardware not Amazon.

  55. The Indomitable Gall
    Go

    If you don't want to buy a whole stack of physical books, I have one word for you.

    Library.

  56. Grant
    Thumb Up

    @How is it legal?

    If you buy stolen properly , even unknowningly, I think the owner of the property can demend it back and if necessary pry it from your cold dead finger (since this is attitude may reg readers seem to want to take). Actually have the police pry it from your cold dead fingers.

  57. jim 45

    that's now how it works

    Grant: as I posted earlier - if people buy printed copies of a book, and later it's revealed that the publisher stiffed the author, the publisher is liable - not the people who bought the books. The purchasers continue to own their printed copies - and not the content itself.

    Several posters have said that no one should be complaining, because it was all in the fine print of the license agreement. I think no one disputes that fact. Those of us incensed by this action simply do not want to live in a world where we need to read and understand ever more "fine print" for transactions that usd to be simple and straightforward - like buying a book or an audio recording,.

  58. Stevie Silver badge

    Nah...

    Fahrenheit 451 contains a text-virus that causes the Kindle to overheat. Delete it or risk your library being burned to the ground.

  59. Dave 85

    Morons...

    Yeah... if you clowns don't stop buying into this shit we'll all have to put up with it soon, bloody idiots that you are. Don't whine about it later, you've made your choice now STFU, sit down and accept YOUR decision. Thanks to morons like you, corporations think this technology is working out for them.... No wonder they push and push for more creeping control... there's too many dickheads willing to roll over just so they can read a book on an lcd screen.

  60. Andy Towler
    FAIL

    Seriously unacceptable

    So you buy a device - and therefore you own it - and you download stuff to it, which you've paid for, and then it can get deleted without your consent?

    If I had a Kindle, it would become kindling fairly quickly.

    Luckily I had more than 40 IQ points and realised it was a piece of shit as soon as they announced it, thus saving myself this trauma.

  61. J 3
    Big Brother

    Creepy...

    So they can do that? I'll never be buying this crap until this situation changes, that's for sure. Before it was just too expensive. Now it is too immoral also.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I

    noticed this with emusic. I have the ability to re-download my catalouge, but there are at least 2 albums which i downloaded within the last 2 years which no longer 'exist' and appear to never have existed, so i cant re-download them.... Luckily they cant delete these from my hard drive.

  63. dracotrapnet
    Coat

    PVP publisher vs publisher

    Shouldn't this have been a lawsuit publisher vs publisher? Instead amazon got a tap on the shoulder like youtube gets from RIAA.

    More fun, amazon demonstrates it can revoke books. No thanks. I don't need a loophole where someone can walk in and steal my whole book collection. I'll stick with dead trees.

    Mine will be the one with hungry bearded dragon in the pocket.

  64. Ed Gould
    FAIL

    Kindle and its ILK

    I never thought KINDLE was a viable option. This deletion of books proved my idea was correct.

    Personally I would sue the KINDLE books and Amazon in the US.

    Judges and Juries are more apt to be sympathetic and give AMAZON a smaller pocket.

  65. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Flame

    Wonderful!

    That much money for it and they completely control it? Stuff it!

    I was thinking about getting one of these book readers, but I think will stick with my hacked PSP and downloaded PDFs, at least I can control what is on my device without paying for the privilege of Amazon to mess me about.

  66. K Cartlidge
    Thumb Down

    Unusually for Sony ...

    For once, Sony are the good guys on standards and DRM. I have a Sony Reader and not only is it *not* wireless or otherwise network-aware, it actually comes with a CD of 100 classics - *including* 1984 !! - and supports a large number of formats.

    I must admit I chose it in preference to a Kindle because (a) the Kindle is damnably ugly, (b) the name Whispernet just sounds soooo dubious, (c) I like Waterstones who sold me it, (d) the current PR505 lets me read normal A4 PDFs by enlarging the font and reflowing the paragraphs, never having failed me on any book yet, and (e) it's made of actual, solid, metal. You know the stuff, it's not a cheap off-white plastic?

    I never even considered looking into licensing rights with Kindle because my previous experiences with Amazon have led me to trust them somewhat, so to find they've gone the software EULA route is a shocker.

    With their recent attempts to drop Lulu (and other POD publishee) books in favour of their own POD printer, plus their buyout of Audible, they seem to be trying a takeover of the entire publishing production chain which is not healthy for competition. Add in these eBook EULAs and they've just lost *all* future business from me - and I was running to several hundred pounds a year.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    But....

    When did Hitler get put in charge of Amazon?

    This is a modern version of book burning!!!

  68. JM Grinder

    Amazon Lost My Trust

    Amazon has really turned me off. In fact, they've screwed up so badly that I've decided not to buy anything from them ever again.

    I have been interested in e-books for quite a while but have been waiting until the true "digital paper" era emerges, which ought to be in a couple years. In the meantime, I've been watching the whole area, trying to get a sense of how it works. It seems that Amazon crafted a system that is closed to anything you don't buy from them, and worse yet, that allows them to just reach into what you thought was your library and delete things.

    I'm telling you, that truly scares the hell out of me. I don't want an outsider being able to peer into my bookshelf. I know that there are workarounds for Amazon's machine, but that's almost even worse. Why should I have to "hack" it? So, at the moment, I am finding this whole area somewhat dubious. Meantime, Amazon has lost my trust forever.

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