| 11:29 pm on Jul 17, 2009 (gmt 0)|
To misquote "1984":
"E-books simply disappeared, always during the night. Your e-book was removed from Kindle, every word of everything you had ever read was wiped out, its one-time existence was denied and then forgotten. Your e-books were abolished, annihilated: vaporized was the usual word."
- George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 1
| 12:58 am on Jul 18, 2009 (gmt 0)|
On April 1st this might be funny.
Seriously: "Barnes & Noble sneaking into our homes in the middle of the night, taking some books that we’ve been reading off our nightstands, and leaving us a check on the coffee table." That would prompt one to call the cops and accuse them of theft.
Also does it work the other way around, a book that one has read till halfway and isn't satisfied with, can it now be returned for a refund ? Seems only fair to make sales not final in both directions.
Gotta remind this if and when amazon launches kindle out here.
| 2:21 am on Jul 18, 2009 (gmt 0)|
When you buy a book you own the paper the words are written on, you don't own the words on the paper. Same thing when you purchase a DVD, you own a plastic disc.
The contents belong to the copyright holder and you have a license to access it based on what stipulations they have set. As far as the ebooks if the license says it can be revoked they most certainly can do that.
I've said it before, the business practices of the media in the past have been to resell you the same thing many times and that certainly applies to books. In the past everything had a shelf life, a book publisher could expect a printed paperback to only last for short time. In the digital age it can last in perpetuity. so they need a way to continue those practices, enter DRM and license restrictions.
| 9:35 am on Jul 18, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|Same thing when you purchase a DVD, you own a plastic disc. |
You also own the right to use the disk (for the intended purpose) in perpetuity.
If you purchase an item, you have the right to use that item in perpetuity. That's true even for a copy of Windows.
If you rent an item, you have the right to use that item for a specified period of time.
Assuming this action resulted from a contractual error meaning that Amazon could not legally sell these e-books, then they probably had no choice but to do what they did (but a warning would have been appreciated by people who were half-way through reading these books).
| 10:34 am on Jul 18, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|You also own the right to use the disk (for the intended purpose) in perpetuity. |
Assuming the disk is playable, 20 years from now there might not be any players available. You can't legally copy it in the U.S. because of the DMCA. The copyright is really irrelevant because you need to break the encryption to make a copy.
| 11:58 am on Jul 18, 2009 (gmt 0)|
I don't know about the USA. But I'm wondering what the situation is in certain European countries. In the UK, I wonder what the Data Protection Act might have to say about unauthorised tampering with data contained on a personal hard drive?
Then again, I'm not a lawyer.
| 12:41 pm on Jul 18, 2009 (gmt 0)|
I love it, thanks for that link!
| 2:09 pm on Jul 18, 2009 (gmt 0)|
This is quite disturbing, not to mention incredibly ironic. Nice "misquote," LifeInAsia.
I can accept content that is sold with an expiration date, as long as that expiration date is made clear before I purchase.
The idea that a vendor could unilaterally decide to remove content from my internet-connected hard drive is another story. This is nearly as bizarre as the Sony root-kit fiasco.
Perhaps this is an opportunity for third party Kindle backup and Kindle firewall solutions.
| 2:46 pm on Jul 18, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|1984 and Animal Farm. Rather ironic. |
Indeed, and hard to believe too.
| 3:51 pm on Jul 18, 2009 (gmt 0)|
This has made my day. I would love to spout out a really cool quote but, alas, I’m speechless.
LifeInAsia, brilliant post by the way.
Amazing and ironic…
| 4:30 pm on Jul 18, 2009 (gmt 0)|
Just imagine if iTunes started doing it with movies, tv shows and music...
| 4:52 pm on Jul 18, 2009 (gmt 0)|
It costs more if they do this and a person already sold another form of the item in order the keep the version that was taken away. Kind of like selling your albums to get the cds and then not being able to get the cd. You may have to buy the item you sold at a higher price.
If companies have this kind of access at all times, this makes me think of greedy sneaky ways they could use this. Like somehow see your access dates and times...."oh he hasn't played that in over a year. Let's delete it and see if they notice it gone, maybe they'll buy it again." Or contract renegotiation, going backward and taking things away that someone wasn't paid enough for.
Definitely need a way to turn/block access to all devices that we own.
| 5:46 pm on Jul 18, 2009 (gmt 0)|
To play devil's advocate, how could they handle it, if they'd distributed pirated content that they're liable for selling?
| 8:43 pm on Jul 18, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|To play devil's advocate, how could they handle it, if they'd distributed pirated content that they're liable for selling? |
They should have handled it exactly how they would have handled it is it was a paper copy they had sold. Settle with the publisher (iow: pay). Taking it back by force from your customers is never an option (apparently it is for Amazon, but it should not be tolerated).
The customer bought and paid for a copy from a reputable source. For all they need to care, they have a valid license to use the content. If that distributor messed up their deal with the publisher: they should bear the consequences of their errors, not be able to offload their error onto the consumers.
| 9:22 pm on Jul 18, 2009 (gmt 0)|
amazon should aggressively go after the vendor that wrongfully put the book on the marketplace in the first place -- to make an example out of them. Ideally they should have the vendor compensate the publisher for the books sold and leave the consumer out of this mess. That could take months (in a best case scenario) or years to play out for what probably amounted to maybe 100 - 200k in sales? Not worth it.
Then again we're looking at this from only the consumer's standpoint. Some of us on this board are publishers of content as well and, as this content is sold on new mediums, we want appropriate protections in place to insure piracy is infrequent.
| 10:13 pm on Jul 18, 2009 (gmt 0)|
I wonder if this has increased the sale of the books, how annoying would it have been if you were a few pages away from the end when it happened, would you have to go out and buy the book to see how it ends?
| 10:19 pm on Jul 18, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|if you were a few pages away from the end when it happened, would you have to go out and buy the book to see how it ends? |
And if so, would you buy it from Amazon?
Even with the refunds this sounds like a huge PR blunder to me.
| 10:33 pm on Jul 18, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|I wonder if this has increased the sale of the books, how annoying would it have been if you were a few pages away from the end when it happened, would you have to go out and buy the book to see how it ends? |
Well, thankfully it's the Summer so 95% of the market for those two books won't be assigned to read them for another few months.
| 12:33 am on Jul 19, 2009 (gmt 0)|
This action apparently violates Amazons Kindles TOS:
|Use of Digital Content. Upon your payment of the applicable fees set by Amazon, 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, solely on the Device or as authorized by Amazon as part of the Service and solely for your personal, non-commercial use. Digital Content will be deemed licensed to you by Amazon under this Agreement unless otherwise expressly provided by Amazon. |
I added the italicized highlighting.
What part of PERMANENT didn't they understand?
If it's in the fine print that it's permanent, someone will probably make Amazon sorry before this is over.
| 12:59 am on Jul 19, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|Assuming the disk is playable, 20 years from now there might not be any players available. You can't legally copy it in the U.S. because of the DMCA. The copyright is really irrelevant because you need to break the encryption to make a copy. |
If I'm not mistaken, the courts have ruled time and time again that it's perfectly legal to make a personal backup copy of your media, to protect against damage to fragile media. This includes music CDs, software, etc. Of course, you may not distribute these backup copies, but that isn't the issue at hand. So that being the case, yes, your disk (or backup) should be playable for 20 years. Unless, of course, I'm missing something here.
| 1:50 am on Jul 19, 2009 (gmt 0)|
Smells like some ambulance chaser could turn this into a class action lawsuit and make them really sorry.
In the US, the DMCA prevents you from breaking copy prevention mechanisms AFAIK.
Out here AFAIK there is a law granting the right to make a personal backup copy (just one). But AFAIK that right has not been able to make selling of copy protection on media such as audio CDs illegal.
| 1:53 am on Jul 19, 2009 (gmt 0)|
I'd like to see Amazon walk into my living room and take back a hardcover book I purchased, all the more reason not to use Kindle.
I find the "Amazon deleted purchased books from users' Kindles" disturbing, shouldn't be possible for Amazon to even SEE what's on our Kindles.
| 2:26 am on Jul 19, 2009 (gmt 0)|
I agree, conceptually speaking, that taking back something someone purchased is wrong.
But comparing the removal of a digital copy of something to breaking into someone's house and stealing a physical book is just silly.
Yes it's wrong, and a PR mistake, but it also isn't that big a deal. If it was a big deal there would be no reason to come up with unreasonable comparisons to give it weight.
| 3:01 am on Jul 19, 2009 (gmt 0)|
"Also does it work the other way around, a book that one has read till halfway and isn't satisfied with, can it now be returned for a refund ? Seems only fair to make sales not final in both directions."
Yes, you can return any Kindle purchase for a full refund. I assume your account would get suspended if you abuse that, but I haven't heard anything in that regard.
| 3:05 am on Jul 19, 2009 (gmt 0)|
Amazon's Kindle just might dwindle once this gets around...
"You can permanently own something until we take it back without notifying you..." etc.
Just told a friend of mine who was going to buy a Kindle for his wife's birthday about this. He's opted NOT to get her that Kindle.
| 3:28 am on Jul 19, 2009 (gmt 0)|
Just to play the devil's advocate for a moment, if a local bookstore ordered a bunch of copies of 1984 from a cheap source and then found out after they sold a few the book was still under copyright and the copies were illegal and asked the customers to return them for a refund so they don't get in trouble with the law, would you return the book?
The difference here is they didn't ask, they told you, and that's what you get for using a proprietary device.
One day they will accidentally delete the wrong thing or they will get hacked and some script kiddie will issue a recall for all ebooks on every device just to be funny.
I'm all for ebooks on ever improving, lower cost devices, but not proprietary standards and "always on" devices that phone home.
| 5:39 am on Jul 19, 2009 (gmt 0)|
IanKelley, I do see your point of view as well but you misread the meaning of my post. Perhaps I should have added emphasis on the fact that I think the problem is Kindle being able to do anything whatsoever to people's Kindle's without so much as a warning.
Perhaps the subject of this thread should be...
You bought the Kindle so it's yours right? instead.
edit: to clarify that even further I don't care about a book being removed, it's bad PR at best but whatever. Red flags went up when Amazon was able to access people's Kindle's without notice and delete stuff, very wrong. I don't own a kindle but from my understanding the books were downloaded to personal kindles, if not, disregard.
| 6:47 am on Jul 19, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|I agree, conceptually speaking, that taking back something someone purchased is wrong. |
Technically it's not any different than a DRM license server suddenly telling you that the license holder has revoked the license, which happened to me many times with Yahoo Music which is why I will never do DRM again.
However, the difference here is that not only were you refunded but a file was physically removed from your device without permission which would run afoul hacking laws in many jurisdictions.
Revoking the license and refunding is one thing, removing files is another.
| 8:05 am on Jul 19, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|If I'm not mistaken, the courts have ruled time and time again that it's perfectly legal to make a personal backup copy of your media, to protect against damage to fragile media. |
It is legal to take a backup, but it is not legal to break the DRM in order to take the backup. If you cannot make a copy without breaking the DRM, there is no legal way of doing it. In some case yo might be able to clone a file, DRM included, but that does not protect you from license servers shutting down, revocation like this, etc.
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