Feeds

Bezos begs forgiveness for Amazon's Big Brother moment

Chat Room 101

The essential guide to IT transformation

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" to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles. It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the criticism we've received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission.

With deep apology to our customers,

Amazon acted after it was told by the copyright holder that unauthorised copies of two Orwell classics, Animal Farm and 1984, were included on its catalogue of books available for the Kindle device. The company removed the titles from its catalogue but also decided to delete them from every individual machine which had downloaded them. Customers were also refunded for their purchases.

Readers were not impressed with the way this was carried out - Amazon emailed customers to tell them they were being refunded, but by then many people were already wondering who had been snooping through their virtual bookshelves and removing books.

Obviously the irony of this Big Brother behaviour in pursuit of readers of 1984 was not missed by anyone.

Kindle users were unimpressed that a book they bought in good faith was taken from them.

The heavy-handed action underlined how limited customer rights over 'their' content is - Kindle's T&Cs make clear that digital content is licensed to the user, not owned by them. They state: "Digital Content will be deemed licensed to you by Amazon under this Agreement unless otherwise expressly provided by Amazon." ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
Judge nixes HP deal for director amnesty after $8.8bn Autonomy snafu
Lawyers will have to earn their keep the hard way, says court
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?