Amazon pays up over Kindle/Orwell fiasco
3rd Oct 2009 | 08:36
$150,000 says it no longer has the right to delete our e-books
It looks like we may have not just an end to the Amazon/Orwell Kindle saga but also a precedent outlining how digital content distributors can behave, after the books giant settled a lawsuit on the issue.
Amazon brought the legal action to a halt by paying the plaintiffs $150,000 (£94,000) after they sued it for deleting copies of Orwell's 1984 and other titles without permission.
The books had been put up for sale by a company that didn't actually hold the rights to do so.
The money will be given to "a charitable organization that promotes literacy, children's issues, secondary or post-secondary education, health or job placement," presumably in the US as the case was filed in Seattle.
However, the more significant outcome may be the terms of the settlement, which state that Amazon can't delete wrongly sold e-books without customers' consent, but can do so if they ask for their money back.
The terms also say that Amazon may act if it believes an e-book contains malicious code that could damage the Kindle, raising the spectre of books biting the hand that holds them.
Nevertheless, the settlement could be held up as a precedent should anything similar happen with digital content wrongly distributed by other companies to not just e-book readers, but also phones and other devices.