7/19/2009

Big Brother has a new weapon- E-Fires via deletion

I got a big chuckle and a reminder of what irony is when I read the news story of Amazon removing 1984 and Animal Farm from individual's Kindles. The book was essentially burned from folks Kindles due to a copywrite violation - which I understand, but think it is interesting that Amazon decided to do so only by notifiying folks that their account had received a refund - not why or how the refund was generated.

It is easy to see the irony in Big Brother remotely accessing a device that you own, and deleting something that you believed that you purchased from them - namely 1984 - but to my way of thinking, there was more irony to be had - a Big Brother figure burning a book off someone's personal e-device called a Kindle.

Aside - The word Kindle has always had multiple meanings - most meaning "generate" in some shape or form. While many say the Kindle "kindle's interest in things"- to me, Kindle is directly related to fire generation - which reminds me in the literary world to the Ray Bradbury classic Fahrenheit 451.

If I walked into a brick and morter store, or even logged into my amazon account and ordered 1984, Orwell's thought police (or Bradbury's Firemen) would have a difficult time prying it from my cold dead hands. (Although I would most definitely loan it out - grin!). I bought it, I paid for it, and I can do anything I wish to it. I can loan it, resell it at a garage sale, use it as TP, whatever! They can't just decide that I no longer have the right to have it in my possession and come into my house like a thief in the night and take it off my bedside table.

Yet that is exactly what Amazon did in this instance. Of course they only entered Kindle users houses virtually, but how is that any different? They decided that the folks who plunked down $9.99 for a copy of it no longer had the right to read it. My Kindle/ebook concern is - will this become modus operandi in the future?

It is a Brave New World out there in electronic books. If I purchase a book here in the US from a regular source, copyrights aren't an issue. In the virtual world, a US copyright vs. say a French copyright, and what is the in public domain can be vastly different. So what I am allowed to possess electronically in one location, may not be the same as in another. Given Kindle's popularity and the fact that the world has become a vastly smaller place thanks to the internet, this is something that will definitely have to be determined in the upcoming months.



1 comment:

DF said...

See this about the Kindle issue:

http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2009_07_19-2009_07_25.shtml#1248045949