Student Sues Amazon For Deleting His Homework

Posted on July 30, 2009

Amazon Kindle QuestionJeff Bezos has personally apologized for the recent Kindle disaster when people's copies of the George Orwell classics, 1984 and Animal Farm, were remotely deleted by Amazon. Of all the books Amazon could have remotely deleted it just had to be 1984. At least one person had made notes in their digital Kindle copy of 1984 and those notes were deleted when Amazon.com made the ebooks vanish.

The Wall Street Journal's Digits blog reports that one student is suing because the notes he made were deleted. The WSJ says Bezos has called the incide "stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles."

The law firm appears to be pursuing a class action lawsuit. It's not clear if there are lots more people out there who had notes in their digital Kindle versions of Orwell's books that were erased. The case sends an important messages to companies selling digital goods. The digital future does not mean content providers can unsend things or remove things they have sold to people. This goes for digital books, games, music, apps, etc. People generally believe they own something when they purchase it - just like when they purchase a hardcover or a dvd. Content and app publishers need to take this idea of ownership very seriously.
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