People have been installing illegal copies of software, music, and other digital media since technology has been capable of producing it. No surprise there.
However, in case you didn’t hear about it, listen to this one;
Amazon Kindle user’s were surprised last week to find that legitimately purchased copies of George Orwell’s “1984” and “Animal Farm” e-books were deleted from their Kindle reading device. Apparently, Amazon has the capability to remove any e-book from the Kindle, without first notifying the owner of the device.
Is this Reverse Piracy?
Well, perhaps it was not as sinister as it sounds, but it’s something to think about.
Depending on the source, it seems that someone created the Orwell books and made them available on Amazon without ownership of the rights to those works. The legitimate rights holder has a valid complaint. The books were remotely removed from the devices, and the customers refunded their money.
All’s well that ends well.
But that is not the end.
Most customers were not aware that Amazon had the capability to remove Kindle content at will. Amazon says through a spokesman that it will handle situations like this differently in the future.
The nagging questions is this; if you purchase an e-book, do you own that copy?
The answer is no – you only purchase the rights to read that copy – you own nothing.
With a physical book, you own that copy to do with as you please. You can give it to a friend, or sell it at a used bookstore. Not so with e-books, as you can actually make copies yourself unless electronic steps are taken by the publisher to prevent it.
It will be interesting to see where Digital Rights Management (DRM) will go in the near future, and perhaps lessons learned from the music industry will hold true with other forms of digital media.
To read more about the Orwell/Kindle episode, click here.