Feeds

Amazon coughs $150k to student over lost notes

Orwell-Kindle fiasco proves expensive

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

A student who sued Amazon for deleting George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four from his Kindle ebook, rendering his notes useless, has won $150,000 along with protection for other Kindle users.

The agreement (pdf), which was spotted by Seattle's TechFlash, effectively prevents Amazon reaching out and deleting or modifying works in future. However, as a negotiated agreement it doesn't carry a legal precedent; and Amazon isn't admitting that it broke the law, or even the terms of service, by deleting the work.

Amazon's motivation for pulling the classic from customer machines was the discovery that the work was still in copyright, despite having been uploaded and made available by an Amazon partner. Fewer than 2000 copies of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm had been sold, so Amazon reversed history by deleting the work over the Kindle's whispernet and crediting the accounts of those who had bought a copy.

That was, according to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, "stupid, thoughtless and painfully out of line with our principles", not to mention being very bad publicity indeed. Any other book would have drawn a lot less flack, but the ability to reach out and change documents even as people are reading them is something Winston's Ministry of Truth would happily have killed for - Animal Farm's involvement hardly gets a mention in the coverage, despite being equally within copyright.

But it was the removal of Nineteen Eighty-Four which so annoyed one Justin D Gawronski, who saw his notes disappear along with the book, that he promptly sued Amazon for taking them away.

Amazon offered all those who were suddenly made Big-Brother-less a legit copy of the book, or a $30 token as an alternative, and pointed out that the notes were backed up online anyway - but that wasn't good enough for Justin, who pushed for the agreement now reached.

That deal sees $150,000 handed over, to be divided between Gawronski (whose counsel's share will go to charity) and another plaintiff.

Amazon also promised not to do this again, at least not without asking first, so once a book is downloaded from Amazon you should be able to rely on it not to change. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
Comcast exec: No, we haven't banned Tor. I use it. You're probably using it
Keep in mind if, say, your Onion browser craps out on Xfinity
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.