Amazon clears up Kindle content deletion policy

Amazon clears up Kindle content deletion policy

Summary: It seems that Amazon has settled a lawsuit that it picked up after deleting George Orwell's "1984" and "Animal Farm" from people's Kindle devices. As part of the settlement, Amazon has finally cleared up Kindle content deletion policy.

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It seems that Amazon has settled a lawsuit that it picked up after deleting George Orwell's "1984" and "Animal Farm" from people's Kindle devices. As part of the settlement, Amazon has finally cleared up Kindle content deletion policy.

Here's the settlement, as uncovered by TechFlash:

Amazon will not remotely delete or modify such Works from Devices purchased and being used in the United States unless (a) the user consents to such deletion or modification; (b) the user requests a refund for the Work or otherwise fails to pay for the Work (e.g., if a credit or debit card issuer declines to remit payment); (c) a judicial or regulatory order requires such deletion or modification; or (d) deletion or modification is reasonably necessary to protect the consumer or the operation of a Device or network through which the Device communicates (e.g., to remove harmful code embedded within a copy of a Work downloaded to a Device).

As part of the settlement, Amazon will pay $150,000 to the plaintiff's lawyers, and the lead law firm KamberEdelson LLC has said it will donate its fee to charity.

If you are a Kindle owner, does this make you feel better about Amazon's remote delete feature?

Topics: Legal, Amazon, Banking, Enterprise Software

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22 comments
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  • Perfect. Just drop exceptions A - D. Problem solved.

    nt.
    wolf_z
    • Not Gonna Happen

      I'm not even sure why you'd [i]want[/i] them to remove exception B, unless you don't want them to be able to refund your money. And A is sort of a given, considering it's in the EULA to begin with. D is a standard way for companies to ensure that they have a remedy if someone decides to spread a virus on their platform.

      In terms of preventing the same kind of problem from happening again as happened with the Orwell book, I think the only real sticking point is C. But there's nothing to be done about that, really. If Amazon gets a court order, what else could they do, but comply? (Sure, they could theoretically fight it, but their odds of winning would be very slim. Legal entities confiscate stolen property from third parties all the time.
      bhartman36
      • C should go away, and D should be "remove the virus" not the whole book.

        [b]
        [/b]
        AzuMao
      • Point D seems a little broad.

        I'd like to see that clarified a bit more. The other three look reasonable.
        masonwheeler
  • I am not and will not be a Kindle user, but ....

    any business that "takes without permission" something of value that you have paid for needs to be treated like a thief (penalties, costs, restitution, etc).
    Bottom line, unless the book was returned or a physical copy of equal value substitued I would not be satisfied. This is the corporate equivalent of shoplifting and later paying for the theft in an attempt to make things OK without being prosecuted. Great message for our kids.
    kd5auq
    • Actually it teaches Justice is for...

      those who can afford it.
      mrlinux
    • So what are you proposing

      Let's see. They offered restoration of the book or $30 certificate to those who lost their copies. Now add a $150k fine plus a clarification of their deletion policy. What exactly would make you happy? Oh wait, you won't be happy, ever, with a Kindle.

      As an actual Kindle owner I am satisfied with this new policy.
      oncall
      • re: So what are you proposing

        As an actual Kindle user, maybe you can answer a question that comes to my mind after reading the blog.

        [i]"Amazon will not remotely delete or modify such Works from Devices purchased and being used in the United States unless (a) the user consents to such deletion or modification;"[/i]

        My question is: do you have to agree to consent to deletion in the EULA?




        :)
        none none
        • Why no you don't

          It's called choice. If you choose not to you simply buy a competing product, of which there are now several, and according to folks who frequent this blog, they are superior to the Kindle. Actually it's even easier than that. If you do not wish your Kindle accessed "at all" you turn off whisper sync and transfer your purchases the old fashioned way through your computer. Though I suppose you sacrifice the ability to get refunds on purchases that Kindle users currently can get.
          oncall
          • re: Why no you don't

            So, if you do buy a Kindle you do have to agree to consent to deletion of content?

            I already knew that I could choose not to buy the thing in the first place.

            I'm just wondering if the agreement means Amazon can continue to delete content because consent to deletion is a condition of buying the content.

            It sounds like Amazon can, from your reply. The blog headline then is misleading, or at least incomplete.

            "Amazon alters EULA to permit content deletion" would be more accurate if that's all that happened.



            :)
            none none
          • If there was no allowance before

            Under the old EULA for Amazon to delete content, then you would be correct. If there was or if it was legally "vague", then you would be incorrect and the title of this blog "Amazon clears up Kindle content deletion policy" would be the correct title. Even if the title was "Amazon creates Kindle content deletion policy" it really doesn't change the underlying question that AKH asked. And I guess, as the only Kindle owner who reads AKH stuff, I have answered.
            oncall
          • This doesn't change the deletion policy [i]that[/i] much

            The new policy says that they'll delete content with a judicial or regulatory order (under term C). So the difference between what happened last time and what could happen the next time is that they'll have a judicial order to do it (assuming that the copyright holder sues).

            I suppose there's always the chance that a judge won't sign such an order, but I think that's where the EULA comes in. If it doesn't violate the EULA, I don't see why a judge wouldn't sign such an order.
            bhartman36
      • Not being a Kindle user I had not heard of the restoration offer, but ....

        taking something without permission IS STILL THEFT!
        Yes, I would have been happy to have the book restored.
        kd5auq
        • Sorry

          If I sounded hostile. My assumption was that you knew about the other settlements.

          I won't touch the whole theft issue though. It has been the subject of numerous forum discussions on Amazon boards that generated literally 1000s of posts: was it theft, was it theft if they had no rights to sell it in the first place and you had no claim to ownership because you cannot "own" stolen goods, is it theft if there is no physicality to it, how can it be stolen property if it lacks physicality? And on and on and on and on. I will not discuss it here, go check out the biggest discussions on Amazon's Kindle board if you're curious.
          oncall
      • He's proposing not to steal our god damned books, that's what.

        Would you be okay if I broke into your house,
        stole your TV, and left a gift certificate for
        however much it was worth? No? Didn't think so.
        AzuMao
  • No change to policy here

    "or (d) deletion or modification is reasonably necessary to protect the consumer or the operation of a Device or network through which the Device communicates."

    This is vague enough to allow the same deletion for the same reason. Amazon could easily say that protecting the network from litigation is "reasonably necessary."

    I think that it should be made clear that "clearing up the deletion policy" is merely rewriting the eula to cover the exact same behavior in the future.
    donniebnyc666
    • That Seems Fairly Implausible

      When they say "the network", it seems fairly clear that they mean the [i]physical[/i] network. People don't sue infrastructures. They sue companies.

      On the other hand, item [b]C[/b] [i]is[/i] the kind of language one would use to allow that kind of behavior:

      [i](c) a judicial or regulatory order requires such deletion or modification[/i]

      To me, that says that if someone goes to a judge and says, "They're violating my copyright", and the judge issues an order, they'll yank the books off of the Kindles.

      bhartman36
  • RE: Amazon clears up Kindle content deletion policy

    Doesn't this make you realize how differently we think about digital content as opposed to actual physical content?

    I would like everyone to consider this. An author sues another author for plagiarism and wins. The book is removed from brick and mortar store shelves and out of the online stores.

    You purchased a copy of this book online. The online retailer has all of your information so they know who you are and where you are. You open your door one day. Someone walks in,takes the book and leaves.

    Does it sound ridiculous? I hope so!

    That's the test right there. There would have been no way of retrieving copies of a physical book if there was a copyright violation. Yes, I understand that this is a slightly different story. The book was not authorized to be sold on the Kindle. However, it should have gone no further than Amazon removing the book from its site and not selling it anymore.

    What Amazon did is no different than someone walking into your house and helping themselves to whatever they want.
    Muttz
    • And

      "However, it should have gone no further than Amazon removing the book from its site and not selling it anymore."

      ... and paying reparations to the author, without trying to get additional money from anyone who bought the book.
      oldbaritone
    • It's not the same situation.

      [i]You purchased a copy of this book online. The online retailer has all of your information so they know who you are and where you are. You open your door one day. Someone walks in,takes the book and leaves.

      Does it sound ridiculous? I hope so![/i]

      Of [i]course[/i] it sounds ridiculous. Do you know why? Because plagiarism isn't [i]illegal[/i], and because an author's plagiarism doesn't impact their ability to distribute their work.

      If I write a 300-page book and have one paragraph that I lifted from another work without proper attribution, I still have every right to distribute my book. The legal issue would be whether the person I plagiarized from is entitled to royalties off of my book sales. The author I lifted from would come looking for [i]me[/i] to pay royalties. They would have no reason to bother the bookstore, let alone the people who bought the book.
      bhartman36