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Jeff Bezos Offers Apology For Erasing 1984

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the always-been-sorry-about-erasing-1984 dept.

Books 437

levicivita writes "From the down-but-not-out NYT comes an article (warning: login may be required) about user backlash against Kindle's embedded DRM: 'Last week, Jeffrey P. Bezos, chief executive of Amazon, offered an apparently heartfelt and anguished mea culpa to customers whose digital editions of George Orwell's "1984" were remotely deleted from their Kindle reading devices. Though copies of the books were sold by a bookseller that did not have legal rights to the novel, Mr. Bezos wrote on a company forum that Amazon's "'solution' to the problem was stupid, thoughtless and painfully out of line with our principles."' Bezos's post is here."

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Responsibility to customers (4, Insightful)

woutersimons_com (1602459) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835359)

Amazon has refunded their customers according to the article, but if I was halfway through a book and it got deleted from my device I would be very annoyed. To me it seems that the better solution would be for Amazon to arrange the correct rights from the copyright holder and arrange some form of deal to make sure that those who have a copy of the book on their Kindle can continue to use it or receive a new copy with the proper rights and at no cost. In the end, the material was offered through their service and they do have responsibility to their customers, even if it is not illegal for them to use this solution.

The apology posted from Mr. Bezos sounds heartfelt indeed. I wonder how this will be handled in future incidents like this one. Unfortunately, in the Netherlands we do not have access to the Kindle. But even with the risks of allowing Amazon to retain control to remotely delete items you have purchased I would definitely be a customer for the device. I suppose that with products like these you have to decide whether you trust a supplier or not.

How's it go again ... oh, right, e (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28835447)

EatSHITandDIE !!

And yes, I am deeply heartfelt sorry beyond words for subjecting you to that so let me add

EAT SHIT AND DIE !!

Re:Responsibility to customers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28835491)

Shitdick.

Re:Responsibility to customers (5, Insightful)

zeromorph (1009305) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835567)

For me, the "apology" doesn't sound heartfelt at all. It is easily written, doesn't cost much and makes good PR. It may be a smart and cheap move for the CEO, but it doesn't impress me. However, using the word solution - even in quotation marks - is impudent. One could call it "intrusion" or "encroachment" - maybe - but dispossessing people of something they paid for, because you made a mistake is not even near something you could call a "solution".

I know why I never wanted this DRM-ridden Kindle, now even more than before, but if something like this would happen to me I would be really really pissed.

When will they ever learn that DRM just means defective by design?

Re:Responsibility to customers (-1, Flamebait)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 5 years ago | (#28836007)

I dont think that this proves that DRM is a problem-- it does solve certain issues, and Valve has used it quite well. Some people may want to own every piece of content they pay for, and want to manage its backups and whatnot, so DRM seems like a problem to them. But there are many people who like the idea of not having to worry about backups, or do not wish to pay full price for something they will access a few times.

Thats not to say that Amazon didnt screw up here, but dont go blaming DRM for what Amazon did-- DRM allows for far better solutions (such as perhaps replacing an improperly licensed version with the proper version, at Amazon's expense).

It just seems like the attitudes seen on /. are "screw libraries, i want to own my books". Thats great, some people like libraries.

Re:Responsibility to customers (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835647)

Once again we see big business showing nothing but disdain for their paying customers. When I was young, AT&T was the only company that acted like this, then the utility companies started, now all these companies act as if they had a monopoly.

After this, anyone who would buy a kindle or any other DRM infested book reader should have his or her head examined.

Re:Responsibility to customers (3, Interesting)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 5 years ago | (#28836027)

Is this why amazon offers DRM-free MP3s to its customers at lower prices than DRM-laden itunes (something like $0.75 per song on big albums)? Apparently knee-jerk business bashing earns +4 insightful these days; I suppose being a successful company and screwing up once in a while is the best way to earn hate on slashdot. Are you really comparing AT&T to Amazon?

Re:Responsibility to customers (1)

teg (97890) | more than 5 years ago | (#28836113)

Is this why amazon offers DRM-free MP3s to its customers at lower prices than DRM-laden itunes (something like $0.75 per song on big albums)

There is no DRM on the iTunes store either. The price seems about even too - although as Amazon isn't even available, it's irrelevant for me and I only did a quick search and compared some Michael Jackson albums featured by both rather prominently. I'm sure they both have a varying selection of cheaper albums.

Re I wonder how this will be handled in the future (5, Insightful)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835653)

The statement, from Amazon's Drew Herdener, reads:

        These books were added to our catalog using our self-service platform by a third-party who did not have the rights to the books...When we were notified of this by the rights holder, we removed the illegal copies from our systems and from customers' devices, and refunded customers....

We are changing our systems so that in the future we will not remove books from customers' devices in these circumstances.

As highlighted by the WSJ, the case draws attention to an expectation gap between real books and their digital counterparts: the latter is simply a license to read the content on your device.

Re:Re I wonder how this will be handled in the fut (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#28836099)

These books were added to our catalog using our self-service platform by a third-party who did not have the rights to the books...When we were notified of this by the rights holder, we removed the illegal copies from our systems and from customers' devices, and refunded customers. [...] We are changing our systems so that in the future we will not remove books from customers' devices in these circumstances.

Those circumstances being when the books 1984 or Animal Farm are submitted improperly to our service. In all other cases, we will have no hesitation to delete material from our^H^H^Hyour Kindle.

Regards, The Management

Re:Re I wonder how this will be handled in the fut (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#28836115)

As highlighted by the WSJ, the case draws attention to an expectation gap between real books and their digital counterparts: the latter is simply a license to read the content on your device.

Or so DRM advocates would have you believe. Copyright law just doesn't read that way. A copy of the book existed on the users' device before Amazon removed it. Amazon destroyed those copies. It's more practical for them to do this than for them to burn customer copies of real books they sold, but it's no different in terms of copyrigh tlaw.

Re:Responsibility to customers (4, Informative)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835673)

I never read with my wireless on. It's always off until I'm looking for a book, then I turn it on, go shopping, download, turn it off.

With the wireless on, the Kindle only can stay powered for days instead of weeks.

Re:Responsibility to customers (4, Insightful)

bkr1_2k (237627) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835905)

How does that prevent them from deleting things the next time you go shopping?

The problem is that they have the ability to do that in the first place.

Re:Responsibility to customers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28835713)

At least offer to replace it with an old fashioned paper edition.

Re:Responsibility to customers (4, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835753)

Amazon has refunded their customers according to the article, but if I was halfway through a book and it got deleted from my device I would be very annoyed. To me it seems that the better solution would be for Amazon to arrange the correct rights from the copyright holder and arrange some form of deal to make sure that those who have a copy of the book on their Kindle can continue to use it or receive a new copy with the proper rights and at no cost. In the end, the material was offered through their service and they do have responsibility to their customers, even if it is not illegal for them to use this solution.

I would be beyond fucking annoyed -- I would call it what it fucking is: tresspassing. In U.S. Law - if someone ships you an item, on purpose or by accident, they can't demand it back (only unless a contract was signed beforehand hand and purchase doesnt fulfill it). It could be a thousand dollar ring, shipped to you by accident, doesn't matter. It's yours.

Amazon shipped the item. You, as the user of the device, purchased it, with your consent, and it went on the device. And then when Amazon found out it shouldn't have done that, did they pay the consequences to the copyright holder? No, without notice, they trespassed on your device to steal it back.

That's what it was. I don't care if it's covered by some unsigned EULA and just because it's on the digital world. The corporates made plenty sure that Congress covered their ass with computer laws. We as private citizens should have the same rights.

This is hacking and trespassing in it's most basic fucking form.

[quote]The apology posted from Mr. Bezos sounds heartfelt indeed.[/quote]
If Gandhi had #1 product on Amazon get a slew of hundreds of 1 star ratings in days, a good 10% of the ratings that were already posted over months, killing sales, he too would be able to do some convincing crocodile tears.

how would damages exceed your purchase price? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28835923)

OK, Amazon trespassed on your device and stole a book (or two) from you ... if you took them to court could you substantiate a claim for any monetary damages other than the price you paid for the book(s)?

The Kindle's not a computer system where you could (try to) put forward a claim that the intrusion required you to audit everything you kept on it to determine what other damage the trespassor did.

Re:Responsibility to customers (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835837)

It would also have caused a lot fewer raised eyebrows. Can you see Mr. DRMClueless wonder:

"What? THEY can erase books on MY reader?"

His apology maybe sounded heartfelt. But I'm sure it was more to silence that voice in their customer's head telling them that their device ain't entirely theirs.

Re:Responsibility to customers (5, Insightful)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835841)

Your being too nice about it.

Amazon has revealed by their actions that they have back doored the kindle, they are able to do what they wish with it and you can't do a thing about it.

They have violated their customers privacy and made a mockery of the first principle of buying anything if you paid for it its yours not theirs.

If it was a service that you bought then perhaps it would be almost acceptable , you would generally be able to terminate the contract if you didn't wish to continue.

At the very least Amazon customers should be able to return the kindle and get a full refund on the kindle and the books they bought. Thats all kindle owners because the sale was a fraud and a complete breach of trust.
Who knows just what has and can be transmitted from your kindle back to Amazon.

Sincere apologies don't cut it, Amazon deserve to be sued in court and punitive damages awarded. The only reasonable action would have been for amazon to ask for users to delete the copies, like with any other product recall it is up to the customer to comply or not. Instead Amazon has tipped its hand by demonstrating the control they have over the kindles which are no longer the property of Amazon.

I don't see how anyone can fail to see how outrageous Amazons actions are.

The only issue is just what charges apply in a case like this because this is absolutely unheard of.

What I can't believe is there is not one negative post to Jeff Bezos's apology you would almost think that someone was filtering any incoming posts.

Re:Responsibility to customers (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 5 years ago | (#28836143)

Well, yeah, they're probably filtering, or full of fanboys. But there is one reason why they could have included this that's not evil - so they can give refunds if you click the wrong book. (Which they do.) Pulling the book from the store probably triggered this whole cascade.

Nonetheless, I just remain amazed that they didn't put this out earlier, right on top of the news curve, along with giving every person involved a free copy of a legit rendition of the book(s) they had bought. It would not have been terribly expensive, and would have been incredible PR: yes, we screwed up, you already got your refund, here's the book for free anyway.

Re:Responsibility to customers (5, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835985)

In any case, you can get a free copy of 1984 and Animal Farm without any DRM from Gutenberg Australia
http://gutenberg.net.au/plusfifty-n-z.html#orwell [gutenberg.net.au]

You won't break any Australian laws by downloading it, but the laws where you are may be different.

Re:Responsibility to customers (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28836073)

I am deeply sorry that you had to realize so soon that we own your ebook-reader, even though you paid for it. My sincerest apologies go to our shareholders.

Re:Responsibility to customers (5, Informative)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 5 years ago | (#28836095)

This was clearly the wrong action in this case, but it's worth remembering why they built this capability in the first place: so people can get refunds if they one-click the wrong book. That's something that they can't do without a remote-deletion capability.

BTW, you know, you don't have to leave the wireless on. And it reads unencrypted Mobipocket books with ease. And there's the Magic Catalog of Project Gutenberg E-books [freekindlebooks.org] that will allow you to download any Gutenberg ebook directly to your kindle, free, via the wireless web interface.

Kindle books can be bought anonymously by using a throwaway email account with gift certificates (available from any Western Union location aka your nearest gas station, or via those Coinstar coin-counting machines, which don't charge a percentage if you get a gift card), and most of them can have their DRM stripped with ease (mobidedrm is what you're looking for; it's a painful process that works for the Kindle, when you're Googling.)

Re:Responsibility to customers (1)

dreemernj (859414) | more than 5 years ago | (#28836145)

I wish I had modpoints. I found this post very useful. My first reaction to reading Bezos' apology, especially the part where he says this is out of line with Amazon's principles, was to wonder why the remote erasure ability is there at all. But if you have the ability to get a refund on your purchase and have them take the ebook back, that makes perfect sense. Thanks for posting that info.

the cat (4, Insightful)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835377)

is out of the bag now Bezos

i was interested in a DX but now ill just get a laptop

this is yet another reason not to buy a kindle, how many other geeks out there feel same way now ?

Re:the cat (1)

arogier (1250960) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835419)

Its just another reason to diversify your online activities. It helps to damped the breech of trust whether you lose your Orwell, your email or your search history.

Re:the cat (1)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835871)

Indeed. I will never, ever purchase a Kindle after they delete copies of the book. When I own a book, I want to own the thing, if not actually the copyright to the text inside.

Re:the cat (1)

Late Adopter (1492849) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835955)

No, it's a reason not to put DRM'ed store content on your Kindle, Sony Reader, iPod, or even laptop. The hardware is perfectly fine (even pleasant) for playing non-DRM media.

Re:the cat (1)

wkk2 (808881) | more than 5 years ago | (#28836035)

No more book burning when the political winds change. They can just reach out and books no longer exist. This is a good example for why DRM should be avoided.

Amazon's solution was: (4, Insightful)

therufus (677843) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835379)

"'solution' to the problem was stupid, thoughtless and painfully out of line with our principles."

You forgot ironic. The big brother connotations on this scandal makes the whole story somewhat funny even.

Re:Amazon's solution was: (5, Funny)

tygerstripes (832644) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835455)

Double-plus-ironic.

Re:Amazon's solution was: (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835555)

Amazon double-plus-un-good

More Ironic: The Censored Preface to Animal Farm (5, Informative)

copponex (13876) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835731)

Slightly offtopic, but many people don't know Orwell's original introduction to the Animal Farm was censored because it was anti-Soviet. It's a telling sign of how easy it is to get the entire media to wholly invest in obvious lies at the order of government and business interests. The enemy of my enemy...

The servility with which the greater part of the English intelligentsia have swallowed and repeated Russian propaganda from 1941 onwards would be quite astounding if it were not that they have behaved similarly on several earlier occasions. On one controversial issue after another the Russian viewpoint has been accepted without examination and then publicized with complete disregard to historical truth or intellectual decency. To name only one instance, the BBC celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Red Army without mentioning Trotsky. This was about as accurate as commemorating the battle of Trafalgar without mentioning Nelson, but it evoked no protest from the English intelligentsia. In the internal struggles in the various occupied countries, the British press has in almost all cases sided with the faction favoured by the Russians and libelled the opposing faction, sometimes suppressing material evidence in order to do so.

http://home.iprimus.com.au/korob/Orwell.html [iprimus.com.au]

Who would have thought? (1)

Caustic Soda (1286402) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835383)

.....Amazon's "'solution' to the problem was stupid, thoughtless and painfully out of line with our principles."' So how the hell did this ever happen then? What kind of brain-fart does someone have to have to make this seem like it was ever going to end well?

Re:Who would have thought? (1)

vintagepc (1388833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835399)

A particularly rancid one? Fouled up with the odour of DRM?

Re:Who would have thought? (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835645)

I've heard that working at Amazon is a high pressure enviroment. Does anyone here know if that's true?

Re:Who would have thought? (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835739)

It cannot possibly have been a "brain fart". The decision to design the system so as to make this sort of thing possible has to have been conscious and deliberate. Giving their managers to the power to remove material from your Kindle was clearly a policy decision.

It would be 1984 (5, Funny)

JohnHegarty (453016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835387)

It would be 1984 they do this to. To quote Bart Simpson "The ironing is delicious".

Re:It would be 1984 (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 5 years ago | (#28836053)

It couldn't have happened to a more appropriate book.

Farenheit 451 (4, Interesting)

siddesu (698447) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835389)

Just got a lot cooler with a hot gadget like the Kindle.

Three Words (4, Insightful)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835397)

used book store

Re:Three Words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28835493)

Developers! Developers! Developers!

Re:Three Words (2, Informative)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835513)

used book store

Shouldn't that be two words? Used bookstore.

Re:Three Words (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835591)

Hey there, Dan Quayle! I didn't know you were posting under a pseudonym on /.

Re:Three Words (3, Informative)

c-reus (852386) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835627)

It's (used book) store, not used (book store). Therefore "used book store" is correct Brackets used for grouping.

Re:Three Words (1)

noundi (1044080) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835693)

A used bookstore would be a bookstore that has been used. A used book store would be a bookstore with used books. In a strange irrelevant way you're both right.

Re:Three Words (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835931)

So probably it should be four words: used used book store

Re:Three Words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28835727)

No it shouldn't. It's a store of used books, not a bookstore that is used.

Re:Three Words (3, Interesting)

mick88 (198800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835883)

one word: library

One Word (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28836137)

GIGAPEDIA

Talk is cheap (5, Insightful)

Marcika (1003625) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835427)

Has Bezos offered anything more material than a free "apology" as compensation for his customers? No? Then any talk of this being "heartfelt and anguished" is just the corporate spin of the issue.

If Amazon truly wanted to fix their mistake, they would restore the book to the affected Kindles (and work out a deal with the rightholders themselves, maybe).

Re:Talk is cheap (3, Informative)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835607)

You're missing the point: the reason they deleted them in the first place was because the seller did not have the rights to the novel. I agree that making a snap judgment to erase them was not the right move, but until they work out some other arrangement, simply "giving the books back" is not an option.

Re:Talk is cheap (2, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835879)

If the same had happened with someone not having the right to print physical books, would they have taken the books back?

And even if you want to make the receiving stolen goods analogy, the point is that it's the job of the police and courts to do that, not a private company.

The OP is correct to say talk is cheap. "Oh sorry, I took your book. Btw you're not getting it back". It's not actually an apology.

Re:Talk is cheap (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 5 years ago | (#28836077)

You're missing the point: the reason they deleted them in the first place was because the seller did not have the rights to the novel. I agree that making a snap judgment to erase them was not the right move, but until they work out some other arrangement, simply "giving the books back" is not an option.

He could at least point to Project Gutenberg, which offers the same book for free.

Re:Talk is cheap (3, Insightful)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835613)

So you're saying whenever someone jumps on Amazon and starts selling books that they don't own, Amazon has to go replace those books with legit copies?

Re:Talk is cheap (5, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835705)

If they sold paper copies of books where the publisher didn't have the publishing rights, would they come to every customer who bought the book and take it away?

Re:Talk is cheap (2, Insightful)

geirnord (150896) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835769)

So you're saying whenever someone jumps on Amazon and start selling books they don't own, Amazon has the rights to go to your house, lock themselves in, steal back the illegal copy and leave?

While none of these solutions are good solution, I thinkreplacing the books would be the most appropriate solution. Since the customers have paid for these books, Amazon (and the vendor who f***ed up) have gotten paid enough to barter a deal with the rights holder to make these copies legal.

Re:Talk is cheap (1)

bahbar (982972) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835785)

They got a refund too. That is more material than a free apology. Agreed, it's the least they could do, but still, it's a pretty big piece of the story that's missing from TFS and TFA.

Re:Talk is cheap (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 5 years ago | (#28836129)

They got a refund too. That is more material than a free apology. Agreed, it's the least they could do, but still, it's a pretty big piece of the story that's missing from TFS and TFA.

It's about as material as a burglar who steals a book from your night stand and leaves some money in exchange. You still feel violated. The excuse that the bookstore where you bought it didn't have the right to sell it, doesn't make it okay to take the book back from you, who bought it in good faith.

Apology Nothing... (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835449)

Unless Amazon sees to it that the last thing remotely deleted is their ability to remotely delete, their "apology" is just so much eloquent PR posturing.

Re:Apology Nothing... (4, Insightful)

asifyoucare (302582) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835621)

Unless Amazon sees to it that the last thing remotely deleted is their ability to remotely delete, their "apology" is just so much eloquent PR posturing.

Indeed. They always intended to pull exactly this sort of stunt. Otherwise, why put the functionality in there?

Jeff 'One-Click' Bezos is just spinning as usual.

It's still sketchy as hell (1)

ultraexactzz (546422) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835463)

Even if this was entirely a screwup on the part of the bookseller (though, doesn't Amazon check such things before selling the books?), the fact that Amazon is willing to delete product in this way is telling. I wondered if we'd get a memo that read something like:

"We apologise for the sacking of your books. Those responsible for sacking your books, have been sacked."

Re:It's still sketchy as hell (1)

vintagepc (1388833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835503)

...And those responsible for sacking those that sacked your books have themselves received a raise.

Re:It's still sketchy as hell (0, Offtopic)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835525)

"We apologise for the sacking of your books. Those responsible for sacking your books, have been sacked."

Then all instances of møøse will be replaced with llama. Are you prepared for that to happen to your bøøks?

Re:It's still sketchy as hell (0, Offtopic)

Camann (1486759) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835677)

Mynd you, møøse bites Kan be pretty nasti...

MiniTruth: This warn you. (4, Informative)

LaminatorX (410794) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835515)

1984 declared non-purchase.

Read is thoughtcrime.

Orwell himself gives a solution (2, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835519)

Doublethink. Just get the customers to think that there never was such a book, and that they hadn't read it half way through.

Re:Orwell himself gives a solution (1)

ifchairscouldtalk (1031944) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835615)

And there never was any erasing. I checked the archives of the newspapers I read with my Kindle: there NEVER was any erasing of any book. And there never was a reduction of the chocolate ration.

Out of line with principles? (4, Insightful)

Alethes (533985) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835529)

If this is out of line with Amazon's principles, then why does the technology to remotely delete books exist?

Re:Out of line with principles? (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835601)

Maybe because there's little difference in deleting those files and doing an system update?

Re:Out of line with principles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28835877)

In that case the API for remote update needs to be severely restricted.
Of course. Simple solution. Don't buy a Kindle.
I might consider getting one once someone finds a good way to remove the Amazon supplied Linux and replace it with a truly free and open one.
Of course that would probably make it difficult to use the Amazon store as opposed to my own texts, but if Amazon wants more business they should open that up too, just like Apple switching to mp3.

Re:Out of line with principles? (3, Insightful)

xjimhb (234034) | more than 5 years ago | (#28836101)

Maybe because there's little difference in deleting those files and doing an system update?

Wrong. I expect system updates to affect /bin, /sbin. /usr, /etc, /lib, and so on (or whatever the equivalent for the Kindle are). I DO NOT expect system updates to do ANYTHING to /home, which is where the books should be stored. So a system update procedure that allows it to mess with MY FILES is clearly bug-infested. The Kindle software totally sucks if it can do this.

And I agree with the comments that say the "apology" is nothing more than lip-service. I will NEVER buy any e-books (or e-anything-else) from Amazon. I may trust them to the extent of buying PAPER books, plastic CDs and DVDs, etc., if they break into my house to take those back I at least have the option of calling the cops!

And people believe it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28835535)

It makes me very very sad that people are still so naive that they believe that he "feels bad". The only thing he feels bad about is that he might have lost future Kindle sales.
 
I don't know how many times people need to have this proven to them before they accept it: corporations do not care about anything other than the amount of money they make. They don't care about the customers. They really, really don't!!! Oh, they were nice to you on the phone? Guess why! Because they don't want to lose future sales to you.
 
Interestingly, the "quote" at the bottom of this page is very very apropos: "The most costly of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind. -- H.L. Mencken"

Kindle Protocol (1)

psergiu (67614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835541)

Here's a dump of the protocol Kindle uses to communicate with the Amazon servers:


times 17.3.84 bb speech malreported africa rectify

times 19.12.83 forecasts 3 yp 4th quarter 83 misprints verify current issue

times 14.2.84 miniplenty malquoted chocolate rectify

times 3.12.83 reporting bb dayorder doubleplusungood refs unpersons rewrite fullwise upsub antefiling

Re:Kindle Protocol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28836013)

A well crafted post sir, but you do realize you were supposed to burn it.

If he only had a heart... (4, Insightful)

retech (1228598) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835543)

If you really want to restore faith in your customers how about completely unlocking their kindles and let them decide what they do and do not delete? Or perhaps that's too much heart for Bezos.

I doubt he'd have a single "heartfelt" thing to say if he wasn't dragged over the hot coals of the net.

What other books are they going to erase? (1)

lazlow (94602) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835561)

Does the message of the book really scare them that much. Next they will erase "Animal Farm" and "Brave New World" Will we be saying, "Oh that's ironic too?"

Re:What other books are they going to erase? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28835757)

Animal Farm WAS deleted from Kindles as well, if it was on them from the same seller. 1984 is just getting more press because of the irony involved. Brave New World is still on the Kindle store site, and its rights were not in question. In fact, 1984 is back on the Kindle store site, maybe they would have been better off replacing the deleted copies with the one that they have the legal rights for, but it's a little late for that now.

Repeat after me: Death to DRM. (5, Insightful)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835571)

Repeat after me: Death to DRM. Terminate all instances of DRM in all cases. The user's content is the user's fair use. Resist DRM until death

Re:Repeat after me: Death to DRM. (0, Redundant)

dave420 (699308) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835765)

If there were no DRM on the Kindle, all the users complaining about their copy of 1984 being deleted wouldn't have ever had a copy of 1984 on there in the first place. The choice is not between "content with DRM" and "content with no DRM", but "content with DRM" and "less content with no DRM". DRM allowed (and still allows) the users to have books on their devices, as it allows rights-holders to feel secure that their works are protected. It'd be great to have no DRM anywhere, but until the rights holders appreciate that, if you want decent content, you're going to have to have DRM.

Re:Repeat after me: Death to DRM. (2, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835849)

I still can get the content on dead trees. Without DRM.

Under the spreading chestnut tree... (1)

ndixon (184723) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835587)

...I sold you and you sold me.

"stupid, thoughtless and... (1)

kulakovich (580584) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835623)

totally apropos, making a PERFECT example of the travesty that is DRM, by deleting a selection that could not serve more perfectly as a dénouement to this entire issue.

HEY BEZOS: PEOPLE OWN WHAT THEY PAY FOR.

kulakovich

Re:"stupid, thoughtless and... (1)

Necroloth (1512791) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835901)

If you buy a camcorder and later get told by the police it's stolen, will you refuse to hand it back?

Re:"stupid, thoughtless and... (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835973)

Amazon are the police now? I missed that memo.

Re:"stupid, thoughtless and... (3, Insightful)

fridaynightsmoke (1589903) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835997)

HEY BEZOS: PEOPLE OWN WHAT THEY PAY FOR.

I just paid a friend a penny for the entire western hemisphere.
Now GET OFF MY LAND!

I won't take a Kindle even for free ... (2, Interesting)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835655)

... until they can convince me beyond reasonable doubt that they removed the ability to delete books on their customer's devices.

Re:I won't take a Kindle even for free ... (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835697)

Ok, see the wireless button? Turn that off.

You now have a Kindle that Amazon will never be able to delete stuff from. When are you placing your order?

Re:I won't take a Kindle even for free ... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835853)

Does it have an alternate way to get books onto it?

Re:I won't take a Kindle even for free ... (1)

Rennt (582550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835861)

So the only purpose of the wireless functionality is to delete books? Surely not.

Wouldn't the same thing happen when you sync your kindle via USB? Even if this is not the case - disabling wireless would severely limit the device and remove functionality you paid for. You can't seriously suggest that is a reasonable option.

Clowning around (1, Funny)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835679)

Perhaps it's my advanced state of sleeplessness, but I swear I just read that as 'Bozo Offers Apology for Erasing 1984.' Anyways, an apology is hardly going to rebuild the trust he lost with his Kindle customers through these actions. He has made Amazon.com the laughing stock of the industry!

"Believe what you say while you are saying it" (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835699)

I'm sure Mr. Bezos can afford advisors who know that that is the key to "sincerity" and can coach him on how to achieve it.

However, they still consciously and deliberately designed their system so as to allow them to remove material from Kindle owners' machines without their knowledge or permission. Why would anyone trust a company that would do that? Have they removed that functionality and explained why it was there in the first place?

Probably had no choice (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28835745)

If it's true that the publisher of the book had no legal right to publish the work, then this is nothing more than an electronic recall-and-destroy that all publishers and distributors have to go through once in a blue moon. Although I'm not at all interested in a device that can remotely delete my content without my permission, in this particular instantance it's not really the fault of Amazon or the DRM so much as technological progress in general. At least it's not an instance of the publisher deciding retroactively to yoink electronic rights to the work.

Still, damned unfortunate and/or stupid of Amazon to include the function in the first place, as it likely gives them ltitle wiggle room. If you've got the ability to recall unauthorized works, then the legal system can make you use them.

They deleted the wrong book (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835751)

Though 1984 isn't a bad choice, Fahrenheit 411 would have been ever better.

Re:They deleted the wrong book (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835829)

The correct action would have been to set fire to the kindles in that case.

Talk is cheap, Mr Bezos (3, Interesting)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835777)

Talk is cheap, and it costs nothing to apologise. Clearly, this is an attempt to mollify angry customers, and nothing more. This is rather typical of Amazon's contempt for their customers. They've demonstrated through their actions -- imposing odious DRM on their paying customers, and setting a dangerous precedent for Big Content to rape their customers at will -- that they cannot be trusted.

Trust is very hard to build and very easy to destroy. I will not spend a red cent with Amazon again.

Interestingly, beyond Jeff's cheap talk, they seem to be showing very little remorse. All my enquiries to their "customer" "service" contact either get a form letter, or are ignored entirely. Likewise, my requests to them to close my account have been ignored.

Amazon doesn't deserve your business. Don't shop with Amazon, and spend your money with book retailers who show their customers at least a token amount of respect.

Bezos is wrong (1)

Groo Wanderer (180806) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835865)

Jeff Bezos is wrong, Amazon's "'solution' to the problem was stupid, thoughtless and painfully out of line with our principles." is not a correct statement. DRM use was " the problem was stupid, thoughtless and painfully out of line with our principles.". OK, maybe not out of line with their principles, they are the purveyors of the 1-click patent if you recall.

As it just goes to show, if you pay for digital media, you get screwed. If you pirate it, you get a demonstrably and provably better product, albeit an illegal one. Then again, should you exercise your fair use rights to say, move it to a different device like your phone, you are being just as illegal, so is there a difference? Oh yeah, about $7.99.

So, here is a heartfelt response to Mr. Bezos: Jeff, if you are serious about caring for your customers, lose the DRM entirely. If not, you are nothing more than a hypocritical patent troll trying to polish your halo in public after getting caught doing something unsavory.

                -Charlie

Forgiveness vs Permission (2, Insightful)

jamesh (87723) | more than 5 years ago | (#28835887)

A wise person once said "sometimes it is easier to seek forgiveness than permission". I think that we are seeing that phrase in action.

misplaced apology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28835911)

what they need to apologize for is creating the technology that allowed them to remotely delete books.
what's next? remotely editing history books?

x of y people think this post adds to the disscuss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28836045)

The number of people who agree/disagree with the 'helpfulness' of some of the comment seem very skewed to me. Comments that make sense, "do not delete books from the device in the future" only have around 60% approval. Most of comments are just people fawning over Bezos and the Kindle.

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