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Apology from Amazon Over Kindle Orwell Flap

Posted by susabelle at 7:18 AM on July 25, 2009

From Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon:

“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.”

As reported earlier by another GNC contributing editor, Amazon had removed pirated copies of George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984 from people’s Kindles, and refunded their money.  Their public reason at that time was that the publisher requested their removal.  Later that week, they amended the reason to state that the copies that were uploaded to the Kindle Store (through their self-service platform that services third-party vendors) were pirated and/or illegal.  I have used the self-service platform myself, and had to go through a pretty rigorous gauntlet of authentification, so I find this a little difficult to believe.  But perhaps someone wasn’t paying attention.  And I imagine the third-party vendor involved has lost their right to upload anything or list anything on Amazon at this point.  At least I would hope so.

Users of the Kindle visiting the Community Forum seem to be happy with Bezos’ apology.  It probably should have come before they started yanking people’s copies back from their Kindles.

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