Monday, July 20, 2009

Big Brother and the Kindle

Irony is my most favorite form of humor!  And last week Amazon provided me with a great "laugh out loud" funny moment.

Seems that Kindle owners who bought copies of 1984 and Animal Farm woke up one morning to find that Amazon had deleted their copies.  No notice; no indication that anything was wrong.  They just remotely zapped the copy of the book off the machine.

Someone (I can't remember who or find the quote) noted that this would be like Barnes and Nobles coming into your house in the middle of the night and stealing back books you bought from them.

Which of course made me curious about the actual Amazon Kindle User Licence Agreement.  I actually went to the source and read it.  Lots of legalize, intended, I am sure, to confuse the average person.  But there are a few thing in actual English.

One of them is this sentence:  "Amazon grants you the non-exclusive right to keep a permanent copy of the applicable Digital Content and to view, use, and display such Digital Content an unlimited number of times..."

Now if you are me and you see the word permanent, you figure it means unchangeable, enduring and everlasting.  And I would further opine that my purchase was a purchase of real intellectual property even if it is in bits and bytes and not between covers.  Evidently Amazon (and their lawyers) think differently.  

The whole concept of someone being able to delete electronic material you have paid for (at will) is pretty scary and brings up legitimate questions about eBook ownership; but the fact that it was 1984 that got zapped is truly delicious!!

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