Update 2: Jeff Bezos apologizes and says it will NOT happen again!…Life imitates Art imitating life, or something like that, AMZN deletes Orwell’s 1984 from Kindles…

Update 2: and here is why I love me some Amazon and am a shareholder to boot, JEFF BEZOS:

Initial post: Jul 23, 2009 12:16 PM PDT
Jeffrey P. Bezos says:

This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle. Our “solution” to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles. It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the criticism we’ve received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission.

With deep apology to our customers,

Jeff Bezos
Founder & CEO

Update:  Via Instapundit, ARS has more on the circumstances of the deletion and AMZNs response to irate customers:

Here’s more from Ars Technica:

Ars Technica has learned that this was more serious than a publisher flippantly changing course. Accusations that Amazon had caved to the powerful meanderings of a “major publisher” were far off the mark, although the cause is still unsettling. As it turns out, the books in question were being sold by Amazon despite being unauthorized copies. The works weren’t legit. It was all copywrong. In other words, Amazon was selling bad books. Hot letters. Pilfered paragraphs. . . . So why would Amazon remove the books? It appears as though Amazon’s purchasing system does this automatically. The company told Ars that they are “changing [Amazon’s] systems so that in the future we will not remove books from customers’ devices in these circumstances.”

Bravo to that, but it would have been better for Amazon to tell customers of this planned change directly, in the first place. And why was the system designed to reach out and remove books, anyway? No word on what Amazon will do to make sure that the books offered by third parties are properly licensed. We wouldn’t be surprised to see the company rake over its third party offerings just to be safe.

Well.  A publisher ‘changed their minds’ about DRM licensing and AMZN ‘removed’ PURCHASED copies of George Orwell’s 1984 from user’s Kindle accounts and refunded their money.

Now I love, love, love my Kindle. I LOVE being able to get new releases or finding old gems or discovering new authors and getting to read them right away without waiting for the mail or a drive to the bookstore. BUT, this would make me realllllly mad if I went to read something and it was GONE.

As a cited commentary in the SciFiWire piece notes:

Per one of Pogue’s commenters, “It’s like Barnes & Noble sneaking into our homes in the middle of the night, taking some books that we’ve been reading off our nightstands, and leaving us a check on the coffee table.”

Well yeah! And Gawd help the book thief that tries to take momma’s reading away from her. Them’s fightin’ words/deeds, grab my shotgun Daddy someone has their grubby hands on my Robert Jordan! Yeah it would be a baaaaad shockah for any would-be literary prowler…

If Amazon ever, EVERRR tries to take one of my purchased volumes away, well litigation will enSUE, heh. Seriously I will make time to fight for my right to reeeee-ead (okay not as catchy as the Beastie Boys we need to work on that)



Got a Kindle? Think you’ve got a copy of 1984 on it? Don’t be so sure about that.

Hundreds of Amazon Kindle owners had their electronic copies of George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984 deleted from their e-book readers overnight, according to David Pogue’s tech blog over at The New York Times.

It seems that the publisher which had offered these electronic editions changed its mind, and so Amazon remotely deleted those books from people’s Kindles and refunded the purchase price to their accounts. But … didn’t the Kindle owners who’d bought and paid for these editions own them? Apparently not….

Speaking of the Dear Big Brother, here is something that would have REALLY freaked Orwell out:

Short info on the CCTV cameras in the Uk and around George Orwell’s flat

I just learnt that within 200 yards of the flat where George Orwell wrote 1984 there are 32 CCTV cameras! That has totally shocked me! I am listening to a BBC radio 4 programme talking about privacy, and apparently the UK has 20 per cent of the amount of cameras there are in the world…. this is just crazy! And what makes it sad is that if George Orwell saw how it’s turned out now, this big brother state, he would be so shocked that it’s us that’s mainly brought this about, a lot of people want them there…

Anywho if you are one of these poor unfortunate souls whose book was nabbed from your Kindle, I would call AMZN and clarify that we OWN these books and their contracts with publishers are not somehow open-ended and please keep us in the loop on what feedback you get!!

I invite you to go to our blog links on the sidebar and prowl through Project Gutenberg from whence you will derive many fine reads in the public domain which no one can EVAH EVAH take away from you. Sadly Orwell is not there yet, (I was surprised to learn the novel was not published until 1949), and the holders of the copyright are prowling the web making everyone take it down.

I nabbed all my Jane Austen from Gutenberg right away when my Kindle came. I have the original Kindle so I cannot translate PDF which is pesky, I have to convert it first, so I download the other format. I hear the new small Kindle and the new Kindle DX have a PDF converter built right in. If our economy ever stops its freefall (which assumes Team TOTUS stops its deadly anti-capitalist agenda) I hope to be the proud owner of a Kindle DX next Holiday season so I can read my history texts with footnotes on the nice big screen…

Here is a link to Project Gutenberg. No George Orwell in the public domain yet…

The way I understand the Public Domain and copyright roolz Orwell won’t be available until 2021, more on how Public Domain works after the break from CK1:

No, George Orwell’s books are not in the public domain in the United States yet. However, they are online at – I think – an Australian library (I’m leery of using that myself).

I good way to check, though it might not be ENTIRELY comprehensive, is Gutenberg http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page (you’ll see that Orwell is not available there). This is probably one of the most comprehensive sites, too. You can also check http://www.online-literature.com/author_… (which has George Orwell, but only chapter summaries of Animal Farm and 1984). BTW: These two sites are definitely legitimate and a good way of checking public domain works…especially Gutenberg.

From Wikipedia, public domain laws for the United States: “Before 1978, unpublished works were not covered by the federal copyright act. This does not mean that the works were in the public domain. Rather, it means that they were covered under (perpetual) common law copyright. The Copyright Act of 1976, effective 1978, abolished common law copyright in the United States; all works, published and unpublished, are now covered by federal statutory copyright. The claim that “pre-1923 works are in the public domain” is correct only for published works; unpublished works are under federal copyright for at least the life of the author plus 70 years. For a work made for hire, the copyright in a work created before 1978, but not theretofore in the public domain or registered for copyright, subsists from January 1, 1978, and endures for a term of 95 years from the year of its first publication, or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first.[4] If the work was created before 1978 but first published on or before December 31, 2002, the work is covered by federal copyright until 2047.

Works published with notice of copyright or registered in unpublished form prior to January 1, 1964, had to be renewed during the 28th year of their first term of copyright to maintain copyright for a full 95-year term.[5]

Until the Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988, the lack of a proper copyright notice would place an otherwise copyrightable work into the public domain, although for works published between January 1, 1978 and February 28, 1989, this could be prevented by registering the work with the Library of Congress within 5 years of publication. After March 1, 1989, an author’s copyright in a work begins when it is fixed in a tangible form; neither publication nor registration is required, and a lack of a copyright notice does not place the work into the public domain.”

If all else fails, follow those rules. George Orwell died in 1950, so based on the above, his works wouldn’t be in the public domain for 70 years after his death or 2020 (however, I read that it’s 70 years after the author’s death from the 1st of January of the present year, which would make it 2021 since he didn’t die January 1st of ’50).

Note: You could call The Library of Congress or check on their site http://www.loc.gov/index.html or http://www.loc.gov/fedsearch/?targets%5B… to see if they have more precise information about which are public domain works.

If all else fails, follow those rules. George Orwell died in 1950, so based on the above, his works wouldn’t be in the public domain for 70 years after his death or 2020 (however, I read that it’s 70 years after the author’s death from the 1st of January of the present year, which would make it 2021 since he didn’t die January 1st of ’50).

July 18, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Entertainment, Fantasy, Fiction, Heavy Metal, Horror, Music, Popular Culture, Uncategorized.

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