Amazon goes Big Brother on Kindle’s “1984″

In an ironically Orwellian move, on July 17, 2009 Amazon.com remotely deleted illegally-sold copies of George Orwell's "1984" and "Animal Farm" from its customer's Kindle e-book readers.

This issue is unique to electronic goods, so it's important to parse the words carefully. The books were indeed sold illegally through, and by, Amazon.com. The legitimacy of the purchases, however, does not seem to be in question. The Kindle owners made a legal purchase, of an item that was not legal for Amazon.com to sell in the United States.

The electronic books that Amazon sold are in the public domain in Canada and Australia, but not in the United States. Effectively, works in the public domain belong to the public. What can be confusing, however, is that something in the public domain--or free to use-- in one country, may not be public domain in another.  Naturally, an Amazon.com purchaser might simply assume--considering that Amazon requires their billing address to make a purchase--that the item they were purchasing was neither free, nor illegal to purchase


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About Jeff M. Fischbach

http://www.twitter.com/FischTech Jeff Michael Fischbach is founder and President of SecondWave Information Systems (SecondWave.com), a consulting firm specializing in Forensic Technology. Since 1994, he has served as a board member and technology adviser to numerous professional organizations and corporations. Mr. Fischbach has been engaged as a litigation consultant and Forensic Examiner, offering expert advice and oversight on matters involving intellectual property, computers, information systems, satellite, tracking and wireless communications technologies. He has advised law enforcement, foreign government representatives, judges, lawyers and the press.
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