Last week, owners of the Amazon Kindle discovered that those who had purchased certain copies of 1984 had them deleted by Amazon. They were given a refund, but it was some time before an explanation of this unilateral action was made. Amazon stated that the copies deleted were sold without ‘some’ copyright.
The Kindle is one of those ‘dancing bear’ devices. Some folks such as myself see how badly the thing works with a monochrome screen ‘ fer christsakes, a single format, being smeared with fecal DRM, and a case of the paranoids long before Kindlegate. The idea that when you turn it on, it phones home, and you having no idea of who is maintaining the connection, what information they are gathering, who they are selling it to, or giving it away either in explicitly personal terms or aggregate. Then there are the folks who actually ‘bought’ one because they are amazed that the bear dances at all. And having a dancing bear somehow validates their geekiness without actually understanding what is wrong with dancing bears.
The irony of 1984 being the poster child of Amazon’s ability to remove things you bought at their discretion underscores why digital books and devices are not ready for prime time. This action is like your bookstore sending a clerk into your house, removing a book you bought and paid for and leaving money on the nightstand. Like they will get past my dogs.
Stowe Boyd has the “Agreement” on his site with a few pithy comments.
Every ugly’ fuck the customer’ term and condition is there. Mandatory Arbitration, DMCA proscriptions, licensing rather than selling the material neatly sidestepping the First Sale Doctrine, that allows you to sell things you buy that have copyright like books, CD’s, DVD’s, etc. , unilateral changes to the agreement by Amazon without your consent, and further more your automatic agreement with their actions.
If i want to rent a book, there are things called Public Library’s that are a hell of a lot cheaper. If I Buy something I Own IT!
If you ever see me with a Kindle in my hands, just shoot me. Really.