Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Buyers Beware.

In line with the previous posts regarding Kindle, here is something to ponder about. A few months back, Amazon made a bad move with the device, resulting in the displeasure of many of their users. Due to legal copyright issues, Amazon was forced to remove the book “1984” from Kindle.

Although users were given their money back, readers became irate as to the manner Amazon took their books back. Readers felt violated, as Amazon quietly went into people’s Kindles and took away books already belonging to them. This was done through their digital rights management system, allowing publishers to go into their customer’s systems and delete content even after being sold.

What made readers mad was the fact that Amazon did not respect their ownership. Granted, there were copyright laws violated which questioned the ownership; but they should have dealt with the situation in a different way. The culture of readers stems from the concept of owning the books they have bought. What Amazon did was similar to selling a paperback novel in a bookstore and afterwards breaking into their house and taking the book back, something clearly unacceptable. This is another downside to the Kindle system, apart from the ban on sharing the books they bought online.

I personally think that they could have taken a different route to doing this, such as paying damages for the violation of copyright laws. Even if this was not possible, Amazon may recover the material from the purchaser, but only after at least proper notification to the purchaser, not just deleting the material without any warning.

Although Amazon has promised that this incident will never happen again, it begs the question of to what extent do they have control over things purchased from them? It tackles the question of ownership by the purchaser of over electronic materials purchased over the Internet.

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