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Amazon 451: Burning Books Remotely
Tiger BurningDig if you will, the pictureRegistered User, SolidSaints Tuberegular
Hyperbole aside, apparently amazon remotely deleted a bunch of digital copies of 1984 and Animal Farm from people's Kindles when they discovered that the vendor who sold them didn't have the rights to them. Moreover, apparently the Kindle's EULA didn't give amazon this right.
Amazon’s published terms of service agreement for the Kindle does not appear to give the company the right to delete purchases after they have been made. It says Amazon grants customers the right to keep a “permanent copy of the applicable digital content.”
Retailers of physical goods cannot, of course, force their way into a customer’s home to take back a purchase, no matter how bootlegged it turns out to be. Yet Amazon appears to maintain a unique tether to the digital content it sells for the Kindle.
“It illustrates how few rights you have when you buy an e-book from Amazon,” said Bruce Schneier, chief security technology officer for British Telecom and an expert on computer security and commerce. “As a Kindle owner, I’m frustrated. I can’t lend people books and I can’t sell books that I’ve already read, and now it turns out that I can’t even count on still having my books tomorrow.”
Copyright enforcement is one thing, but I don't like the idea of a hardware manufacturer retaining the right to remotely delete local content without my permission. It's going to be an interesting question going forward, though, as the line between hardware and software, local and 'cloud' becomes more blurred, where the provider's rights end and the consumer's begin.