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Robert Scoble
Wait a second the whole Amazon Kindle thing yesterday was ABOUT STOLEN property! That changes ALL the anti-Amazon arguments. More:
Those books were stolen property. Amazon had every right to delete them. Police will come into your house and take your TV if it was stolen. - Robert Scoble from iPhone
Amazon had no right to sell those books to you in the first place. - Robert Scoble from iPhone
Interesting to see who was anti-Arrington and anti-Amazon too. - Robert Scoble from iPhone
If you are anti-arrington you must be pro Amazon today. - Robert Scoble from iPhone
Chris: yeah. - Robert Scoble from iPhone
The stolen TV analogy only goes so far since it was Amazon that was selling the stolen merchandise in the first place. I wonder how this has affected Kindle sales. - Justin Doub
If a printing company illegally produced copies of your book, you could rightly expect the rights-holder to go after them and even demand that unsold copies be destroyed but they certainly wouldn't demand to burn all copies sold to customers. See my comments here: http://www.torgo.com/blog... - Daniel Appelquist
You guys need to go to law school. If you buy stolen property from a store, you are the rightful owner of the goods. The police won't bother you. - Ward Mundy
Ward: is that true? I always thought that receiving stolen goods would get them taken from you. - Robert Scoble from iPhone
That's not to say Amazon wouldn't be liable for damages to the legitimate copyright holder. Just not the buyer in the ordinary course of business. - Ward Mundy
I disagree. Amazon should have found a way to work it out with the publisher (i.e. write a check). You should NEVER do what Amazon did. Pull it from the store, don't sell any new copies, fine. Don't yank content from a consumer's device. Ever. - Brian Baggett
Amazon is still at fault here, by the way. For selling something it didn't have the legal right to sell. - Robert Scoble from iPhone
We can all agree on that. :-) - Ward Mundy
George Orwell is rolling over in his grave. http://nerdvittles.com - Ward Mundy
Brian: I agree, and it looks like Amazon agrees now too but those arguments have less teeth today. By the way did you argue for or against TechCrunch publishing the stolen Twitter documents? - Robert Scoble from iPhone
Amazon should have communicated to their customers before taking any action. Amazon = Fail - paul mooney
Ward: Orwell has lots of reasons to roll over in his grave. - Robert Scoble from iPhone
Paul: agreed. - Robert Scoble from iPhone
Paul: I completely agree. Their actions caused uproar that could have been avoided by sending a clear message before preforming the pull. - Joshua
Amen, Big Bro. - Ward Mundy
Seeing the Twitter docs pop up over at Techcrunch felt ... "dirty". Just because you can doesn't mean you should. - Brian Baggett
Brian: lots of journalism is done with stolen info. - Robert Scoble from iPhone
It depends upon where you purchased the stolen goods. - Ward Mundy
Ward: even from a second hand store? - Robert Scoble from iPhone
Absolutely Brian, starting to read that I felt as if I were a part of some sort of espionage... I stopped reading. I think I may be done with Arrington/TechCrunch... :( - Trae Ruge
The real root of the anti-Amazon, anti-whoever, sentiment is that we all know copyright is broken and that these books SHOULD be free. - tollie williams
If the store is in the business of selling the type of goods you buy, then you are a buyer in the ordinary course and are protected. - Ward Mundy
Yeah, I realize that. The difference is when it's something like Watergate or exposing massive corporate fraud, that's one thing ... when it's exposing the inner thoughts of a company that's yet to make a dime ... it just seems senseless. Know what I mean? - Brian Baggett
Not to be pedantic, but it's important...it's not stolen property. It's a work under copyright sold w/o a license. There's a difference. "STOLEN PROPERTY" (in caps, no less) means you don't have the property anymore. That isn't the case here. It's still wrong, no question, and Amazon is in the process of working through this. But it's different, and it's complicated. All caps doesn't help. - Ken Kennedy
Robert re:"lots of journalism is done with stolen info." http://kara.allthingsd.com/2009071... - Ian Paul
Robert: Amazon isn't the police; remember the analogy; if Books Inc sold me an illicit copy of 1984, they have no right to come into my house to get it back; they'd have to follow a legal process to do that. - Stuart Liroff
Wouldn't the police need a warrant to come into my house and get the stolen property. I mean they couldn't just break into and then leave. That's what makes Amazon's action so bad, they made no attempt to inform the consumer of what they were doing. After all the consumer didn't know the item was stolen and had no reasonable expectation it was stolen. - Kim Landwehr
Oops...I capped the whole thing "ABOUT STOLEN". Sorry. I'll not edit above, but consider this my oopsie acknowledgement. - Ken Kennedy
Ken Kennedy: Excellent point and that isn't pedantic at all. - Brian Baggett
Ward, if you buy my stolen t.v. I have every right to get it back. Your money is gone and you could face charges for receiving stolen property, depending on the circumstances. - Kimber Scott from BuddyFeed
Ian: Kara is wrong there. - Robert Scoble from iPhone
Ken: so if this isn't "stolen property" but content sold without out a license, doesn't that mean it was illegally obtained--at least by Amazon if not the end user? - Ian Paul
The end user asserted to Amazon that they had the rights to publish the work. - Ken Kennedy
I wonder if Amazon will ever start removing books from the kindle that you got from somewhere else, i.e. pirated content. - RobinDotNet
Robin: I doubt that. - Robert Scoble from iPhone
If somone took one of David Pogue's (the NYT writer that one of of the first to write about this), OCR'd it, put it up on Amazon via the Kindle's small authors publishing programs, and sold a couple thousand copies at $0.10 before Pogue figured out what was going on, what do you think he'd want to do? Leave them out there, or make Amazon take them back?? (I'm willing to bet $20 right here on the latter). - Ken Kennedy
Robert: I don't want to go too far off topic here, but why don't you buy the argument that there's a difference between taking company documents in the name of the public good versus a hacker doing a cyber B 'n' E? Wasn't the whole Twitter affair basically a case of prurient (okay, prurient isn't the right word here, but you get my drift) interest for the reading public? - Ian Paul
@Robin. There's no technological way to make sure that you don't have the right to that work. I think Amazon would be crazy to even try. - Ken Kennedy
Scoble: I absolutely believe the content providers won't put pressure on Amazon & Apple eventually to do just that ... - Brian Baggett
Robert i think you're conflating things again, maybe just to be a gadfly or "start a conversation," but you're equating things that aren't equal. Amazon thought they had the right to sell the book -- they didn't not *knowingly and wilfully* violate copyright. morally speaking, that is not the same kind of "crime" as buying something you KNOW is stolen from a self-admitted thief. - Karim
I misspoke. I meant to say "I absolutely believe the content providers will put pressure on Amazon & Apple eventually to do just that" - Brian Baggett
Ian: My public interest is your purient interest. - Robert Scoble from iPhone
Amazon's already said: "“We are changing our systems so that in the future we will not remove books from customers’ devices in these circumstances". Props for that...probably. But what happens when someone scarfs the next "Harry Potter-alike", uploads it with a slightly different name a day before release, sells TENS of thousands of copies before they're caught (because I bet lots of people, even people here, would buy it even though they knew it couldn't be right). They'll be hating that one. There's a balancing act between making it easy for anyone to publish what they're written to the Kindle, and allowing people to publish stuff they've stolen to the Kindle. - Ken Kennedy
Amazon made a mistake that had no financial benefit for the receiver of the goods. Arrington received stuff he *knew* was stolen and used it for page views. HUGE moral difference. - Karim
So they only remove content that *they* allow you to put on there illegally? That's good, bec. if Amazon did that, think what Apple could do to people's iPods... - RobinDotNet
Robert: Amazon had the right to _lawfully_ request the 1984 copies to be returned. They didn't have the right to commit a felony by "breaking and entering" in order to retrieve the property: Definition: "Entering can involve either physical entry by a person or the insertion of an instrument with which to remove property. " http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki... - Stuart Liroff
Robert: maybe I don't see it the same because I am not a journalist, but I am a banker. If your information is stolen and sent to Tech Crunch et al. you would not want to see it posted I would imagine. Perhaps this isn't similar, but posting anything privat be it account balances, personal info, loan committee minutes, business dealings etc. they are all private information... - Trae Ruge
KenKennedy -- they could compare title against copyright availability. - RobinDotNet
I'm still dismayed about the reports that some books can only be downloaded a specific number of times, and that's not documented. Anybody had any problems downloading books repeatedly? (I have 2 kindles, and use iPhone kindle app too). - RobinDotNet
Robert: I think we'd need a new thread to keep this discussion going. I just can't believe that the Twitter info was in the public interest. - Ian Paul
Robin: Why would you want to download books repeatedly anyway? - Ian Paul
@Stuart: C'mon. This wasn't a masked Amazon employee in your bedroom. It's a wireless device that you authorize (and in fact expect them) to move stuff around on. You agree to a lengthy terms at purchase. Amazon can't agree to give you rights to a permanent copy of something that they don't have the rights to give you period. - Ken Kennedy
IanPaul: I might want to download it to multiple kindles. But sometimes I download a book, read it, and remove it, so my list isn't so cluttered, since they don't let you folder them. - RobinDotNet
Robin's comment brings up a good point: http://medialoper.com/hot-top... - Brian Baggett
Isn't it ironic that the books by Orwell were deleted. "He who controls the past, controls the future" is the party slogan of the govt. in 1984. Maybe Amazon thought they could go back and change history too. - Robert
BrianBaggett -- I agree, they should disclose it. I feel like I need to back up the files from my kindle to my PC just in case. Because you CAN copy them off, then copy them back on there, yourself. - RobinDotNet
Oh, the Orwell irony I think is "great" (note the quotes). It's part of what gave this story legs, IMO. - Ken Kennedy
Ken: If the perception is you're buying something from Amazon rather than renting it, then it is unreasonable. Obviously, they just made clear to anyone who wasn't sure that you own nothing on the device; you're just renting. - Brian Baggett
Robin: I see. Can the Kindle sync with your computer or a memory card and you can put them on your hard drive instead? I don't have a Kindle, just interested to hear how it works . - Ian Paul
@Brian @Robert I wholeheartedly agree...back up your files. It's trivial. - Ken Kennedy
Robert -- It would have been ironic if it happened with Fahrenheit 451 !! - RobinDotNet
IanPaul -- you can connect it to your compute and see the files, and just copy them off to your PC or wherever. - RobinDotNet
They can reclaim stolen property, but they would tell you, they wouldn't just steal it back from you secretly. - RobinDotNet
@Brian The Ars Technica article is good on this: http://arstechnica.com/tech-po... Amazon does consider that you have a permanent license; it's no "rental". But...(and there's always a but in contracts), it can't give you a license to something it doesn't have rights to license! That's what happened. - Ken Kennedy
Whoever said stolen property can't be taken away is wrong. In California, receiving stolen property is punishable by the law and often includes jail time. Even if you didn't know it was stolen and paid for the item. It can and will be taken by the law and held as evidence until a hearing or trial. - Marc Flores
It's NOT stolen property. It's unlicensed property. And the short answer is Amazon should have bought a license for the number of copies they already had sold. - Ward Mundy
If you buy a book from a book store, you have an absolute right to keep the book whether it was originally stolen or not. - Ward Mundy
If you buy a stolen book from somebody on the street corner, you do not have a right to keep the book. - Ward Mundy
Ken, Amazon's License and Terms of Use clearly gives the purchaser the non-exclusive rights to keep a permanent copy of the digital content on your device; nowhere does it give Amazon the right to delete it. http://www.amazon.com/gp... - Stuart Liroff
Why worry about the stolen property statues of 50 states? This isn't a big-screen TV! @Ward, that's not a bad idea (short answer), except a) what if I don't WANT to license my work, for any price. You can't make me. b) after the fact, maybe I am willing to license to Amazon...for $100,000 a pop. - Ken Kennedy
@Stuart: I know, since I quoted that about 2 minutes ago. *grin* But they can't license stuff they don't have a license to license! - Ken Kennedy
"Copies of copyrighted works CANNOT BE REGARDED AS STOLEN PROPERTY for the purposes of a prosecution under a statute criminalizing the interstate transportation of such property." -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki... - Karim
You might also search for Buyer in Ordinary Course under UCC which applies in most states. http://bit.ly/49QRid - Ward Mundy
So do those who bought 1984 have the legal standing to launch a class action suit against Amazon? A case that like that could have some serious implications for the future treatment of digital content. - Ian Paul
I still don't see why Amazon deleted the books from the Kindle. Apple doesn't do the same thing for their apps. Kindle may be okay, but I'm sticking with Stanza on the iPhone for now. - darnell from BuddyFeed
So wait. I unknowingly buy a book from a store that doesn't know it's stolen. The store owner realizes it was stolen, comes to my house, breaks in and takes the book back? Since when does he have the right to do that? The police, probably. The store owner? Definitely not. - shandel from iPhone
shandel, the police can't enter your home to retrieve stolen goods without 1) your permission, or 2) a search warrant issued by a court. So what Amazon did was purely breaking and entering, unless their TOS said they could do so. - Jeff P. Henderson
You do not own the kindle downloads. Amazon licenses them to you. - russellcoleman
Yes, you own a license to the books. Where is it stated that Amazon has a right to yank your license? - Jeff P. Henderson
@Jeff: That's the point; you own a bogus license...what does that give you? Amazon didn't have a legitimate license. Orwell's estate pointed that out; they had no choice but to stop selling. I imagine Amazon's interpretation of the TOS is that you never had a legitimate license either. They appear to be changing that interpretation now, based on feedback. - Ken Kennedy
Ken, there is something called due process that should have been used in order to right the wrong. Amazon should not have 'broken in' and taken the books back. They should have used the proper legal procedures for doing so if that was their best resolution to the problem. - Jeff P. Henderson
Disagree Scoble. This is not about STOLEN property. This is about censorship and the rights of individuals. This is about TYRANNY pure and simple. - Richard
The Kindle is a nascent, emerging technology (sure e-book readers have been around for years, but like the iPod was to MP3 players, this is to e-books) and Amazon should do everything in their power to not leave a bad taste in consumer's mouths. Period. That 'kill switch' should be for viruses or malicious trojans or something that is really a problem. - Brian Baggett
In a case like this, the publisher should've worked behind the scenes with Amazon to license the books. If the publisher wouldn't budge, Amazon could've had the courtesy to email or post a notice on what the publisher was asking them to do. The widespread ill-will would've shifted from Amazon in a heartbeat. They could've spun this blunder into a PR opportunity if they were smart ("The big bad publisher wants us to delete your content, but we said no ...") - Brian Baggett
@Brian --- It's not any of my (or Amazon's) business why Orwell's estate (or anyone else) does or doesn't want to license electronic distribution. I personally think it's short-sighted for people not to do so, but that doesn't mean I think leaning on them the way you're describing is a good idea. Heck, I'd be MORE pissed w/ Amazon if they sent a letter like that. That's them using mob uproar against the rightful license holder, rather than holding the publisher that DIDN'T have rights to license the material accountable. - Ken Kennedy
@Brian -- there are lots of (academic, for example) works that I'd like to see on the Kindle that aren't there. I unfailingly click the "I'd like to see the on the Kindle" button, and I hope Amazon does something with it. I've even emailed authors and publishers directly. But I DON'T hope that someone rips them off and publishes things illegally, giving Amazon leverage to send "big bad publisher" letters. - Ken Kennedy
@Ken - Had Amazon *intentionally* sold something it wasn't licensed to sell, sure they should be held accountable. However, a publisher they deal with sold Amazon something that *they* didn't own. That's not Amazon's fault; the ill will should be focused at the publisher who sold it to Amazon rather than Amazon playing copyright-cop. - Brian Baggett
"MobileReference, the publisher in question, formats and sells public domain books on Amazon. The only problem is that George Orwell's Animal Farm and 1984 are not yet in the public domain, at least not in the US. According to Amazon's statement to Ars Technica, "These books were added to our catalog using our self-service platform by a third-party who did not have the rights to the books." -- http://bit.ly/Depgj - Brian Baggett
I really think Amazon's learnt a very important lesson today. I guess the kindle marketplace is a nascent one, and a new foray for Amazon into DRM-encumbered file distribution. One would assume this will not happen again. - Bryce Roney from iPod
Do I have to be anti either? - Jesse Stay from iPhone
Robert Scoble 2009: "Wait a second the whole Amazon Kindle thing yesterday was ABOUT STOLEN property! That changes ALL the anti-Amazon arguments." Philip Mauro, 1906: "All talk about dishonesty and theft in this connection from however high a source is the merest claptrap for there exists no property in ideas musical, literary or artistic except as defined by statute." - Loryn Jenkins
Another point: this story has nothing in particular to do w/ the DRM on Kindle files. The "big deal" is the always-on (by default) connection that you don't often think about, since you don't pay monthly for it. WhisperNet is convenient, but that convenience has a downside. File DRM isn't the issue is b/c Amazon can and does sell ebooks w/o DRM; I bought a Kindle copy Mur Lafferty's CC-licensed "Playing For Keeps" for $3.99 on the Kindle, and it's _not_ encrypted. But I expect Amazon nevertheless has the ability to delete it. - Ken Kennedy
DRM isn't exclusive to a file; DRM can be an aspect of the hardware. - Brian Baggett
Valid point, Brian. But the Kindle isn't really DRM'd in a direct hardware sense...it mounts as a drive if you connect it to a USB port, and you can drag off the files. Most people don't, but there's absolutely nothing stopping you. I backup all my purchases (and yes, that includes stripping the encryption; I have unencrypted backups of all my books). If Amazon made it impossible for you interact w/ the device except through an "approved" connection, I wouldn't have a Kindle. If they try to do it in the future, I'll jailbreak it. (No need to as of now). - Ken Kennedy
@Brian...just saw your earlier comment: "the ill will should be focused at the publisher who sold it to Amazon". I agree 110%; sorry if it seemed otherwise. There's an argument that could be made that the complicated nature of copyright makes this stuff confusing (ie, the fact that these books are in the public domain in Canada, Australia, and Russia already), but that's no excuse. If you're in the business, you should know. It's pretty easy, in fact...basically nothing since the late 20's in the US has fallen into public domain. *grin* - Ken Kennedy
Amazon clearly violated federal "computer tampering" laws. See http://cid-c072ace4f752027c.sp... - Brian K. Stanley, Att'y