Feeds

Amazon coughs $150k to student over lost notes

Orwell-Kindle fiasco proves expensive

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
AT&T dangles gigabit broadband plans over 100 US cities
So soon after a mulled Google Fiber expansion, fancy that
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
Google looks to LTE and Wi-Fi to help it lube YouTube tubes
Bandwidth hogger needs tube embiggenment if it's to succeed
Turnbull gave NBN Co NO RULES to plan blackspot upgrades
NBN Co faces huge future Telstra bills and reduces fibre footprint
NBN Co plans fibre-to-the-basement blitz to beat cherry-pickers
Heading off at the pass operation given same priority as blackspot fixing
NBN Co in 'broadband kit we tested worked' STUNNER
Announcement of VDSL trial is not proof of concept for fibre-to-the-node
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.