Orwellian DRM

On the morning of July 17, 2009, copies of certain books vanished from Kindles across the world. Monetary reparations were deposited into the respective Kindle owner’s account. In a stroke of pure irony, one of the deleted books was 1984 by George Orwell.

According to Amazon, these deletions were in response to a request by the rights holder. Amazon goes on to explain that the digital editions of both 1984 and Animal Farm were uploaded to Amazon’s store through a self-service portal. These were “unauthorized” versions of the ebooks and the party responsible for uploading them should not have done so.

In the end, the consumer loses, having been denied content they purchased. Sure, Amazon refunded the money they paid, but how many of those people were in the middle of reading those books? Or had them in the queue to read later? And what right does Amazon have to take back something they sold you? To borrow a really good example, that’s like Barnes and Nobles coming to your house and taking books off your shelves without permission. Does it make it OK if they leave a check on the table? Ok, sure, it’s your house rather than a device with just books, so how about if you had all of those books in a room, with separate access? Yeah.. you’d still feel violated, wouldn’t you..

What’s interesting is that this is the book industry doing this, and not the music or movie industry. With the insane tactics the RIAA has taken over the years, this seems to be right up their alley.. And the book industry has always had more openness, what with libraries, selling and swapping books, etc. But now there’s suddenly a big to-do about DRM and book rights. Interesting how times change.