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Censorship Books Your Rights Online

Amazon Taking Down Erotica, Removing From Kindles 641

Posted by kdawson
from the slippery-cliff dept.
ctmurray writes "The independent writers who publish on Amazon report that erotica books containing incest are being taken down with no explanation by Amazon, and removed from the Kindles of purchasers of the books. Author Selena Kitt writes: 'I want to be clear that while the subject of incest may not appeal to some, there is no underage contact in any of my work, and I make that either explicitly clear in all my stories or I state it up front in the book's disclaimer. I don't condone or support actual incest, just as someone who writes mysteries about serial killers wouldn't condone killing. What I write is fiction.' Kindle's own TV ad features a book with a story line of sex between a 19-year-old and his stepmother, defined in some states as incest (Sleepwalking by Amy Bloom)."
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Amazon Taking Down Erotica, Removing From Kindles

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  • 1984 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MrQuacker (1938262) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @03:37AM (#34557708)
    Didn't Amazon say that they would no longer remove books remotely?
    • Re:1984 (Score:5, Funny)

      by Cyberax (705495) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @03:38AM (#34557716)

      That was just a misprint.

    • Re:1984 (Score:5, Informative)

      by scrib (1277042) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @03:49AM (#34557766)

      They redacted that statement later...

      Actually, the quote I find with regards to removing illegitimate copies of "1984" is: "We are changing our systems so that in the future we will not remove books from customers’ devices in these circumstances."

      These are, of course, entirely different circumstances. Perhaps "these circumstances" are only if a person who doesn't own the rights to a book tries to sell it and the removal results in irony. Perhaps the circumstances are specific to "1984" alone. Removing a book sold by the legitimate rights' holder due to content is totally different...

      Anyway, their statement about not removing books is probably just as valid as their privacy policy...

      • They redacted that statement later...

        You mean retracted, don't you?

      • Re:1984 (Score:5, Informative)

        by yakumo.unr (833476) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @06:33AM (#34558660) Homepage

        but it was in a court settlement

        For copies of Works purchased pursuant to TOS granting "the non-exclusive right to
                keep a permanent copy" of each purchased Work and to "view, use and display [such Works] an
                unlimited number of times, solely on the [Devices] . . . and solely for [the purchasers'] personal,
                non-commercial use," Amazon will not remotely delete or modify such Works from Devices
                purchased and being used in the United States unless (a) the user consents to such deletion or
                modification; (b) the user requests a refund for the Work or otherwise fails to pay for the Work
                (e.g., if a credit or debit card issuer declines to remit payment); (c) a judicial or regulatory order
                requires such deletion or modification; or (d) deletion or modification is reasonably necessary to
                protect the consumer or the operation of a Device or network through which the Device
                communicates (e.g., to remove harmful code embedded within a copy of a Work downloaded to
                a Device). This paragraph does not apply to (a) applications (whether developed or offered by
                Amazon or by third parties), software or other code; (b) transient content such as blogs; or (c)
                content that the publisher intends to be updated and replaced with newer content as newer
                content becomes available. With respect to newspaper and magazine subscriptions, nothing in
                this paragraph prohibits the current operational practice pursuant to which older issues are
                automatically deleted from the Device to make room for newer issues, absent affirmative action
                by the Device user to save older issues.

        http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/amazon20091001.pdf [wsj.com]

        ( thanks http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1910796&cid=34558118 [slashdot.org] )

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, they did. However, if you read carefully,

      When some of my readers began checking their Kindle archives for books of mine they’d purchased on Amazon, they found them missing from their archives

      The books were never remotely removed from the device. Instead, Amazon removed the books from being sold or re-downloaded. This is within the guidelines Amazon setup.

    • That was a press release from Amazone, this is Amazon.
    • Re:1984 (Score:5, Funny)

      by theNAM666 (179776) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @05:26AM (#34558310)

      They later removed that statement (remotely).

    • Re:1984 (Score:5, Informative)

      by julesh (229690) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @06:25AM (#34558600)

      Didn't Amazon say that they would no longer remove books remotely?

      Yes. And from the research I did into this story yesterday, they haven't in this case. What they have done is removed the files from their servers, so you can no longer redownload them for a new device (and as this service is included in the price of an amazon e-book, you are therefore entitled to a refund if you bought any of the books that have been removed).

      • by LambdaWolf (1561517) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @06:57AM (#34558798)

        Didn't Amazon say that they would no longer remove books remotely?

        Yes. And from the research I did into this story yesterday, they haven't in this case. What they have done is removed the files from their servers, so you can no longer redownload them for a new device (and as this service is included in the price of an amazon e-book, you are therefore entitled to a refund if you bought any of the books that have been removed).

        Yes; moreover, TFA seems to say as much, although it could be clearer.

        When some of my readers began checking their Kindle archives for books of mine they’d purchased on Amazon, they found them missing from their archives. [emphasis added]

        Can someone clarify what "Kindle archives" means in this context? Because I can't find one word in the article that says the book was deleted from any customer's local storage.

        I don't mean to defend the decision to censor by any means, and this is still downright dishonest if the customers had a reasonable expectation that Amazon would go on providing their books for re-download perpetually. (I'm sure the fine print absolves Amazon of any legal responsibilities to keep hosting the books; as for refunds, I don't know.) But it's miles and miles away from deleting books from local storage on customer-owned devices. Unless there are further facts about remote deletions that the linked article omits, the summary is wrong and potentially libelous. Furthermore, if I'm right, Amazon is in fact abiding by (the letter of) the promises they made after the 1984 debacle.

        • by Scrameustache (459504) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @12:23PM (#34561888) Homepage Journal

          When some of my readers began checking their Kindle archives for books of mine they’d purchased on Amazon, they found them missing from their archives. [emphasis added]

          Can someone clarify what "Kindle archives" means in this context? Because I can't find one word in the article that says the book was deleted from any customer's local storage.

          Accessing Your Kindle Library through Archived Items [amazon.com]

          All Kindle content, including books and Kindle active content, that you've purchased from the Kindle Store is stored in your Kindle library on Amazon.com. Any content not already listed on your Kindle's home screen is available through Archived Items on your device.

          With wireless turned on, press the Menu button and then select "View Archived Items" to access your entire Kindle library.

          Seems like it's the off-device storage plan... and that they've preemptively disclaimed this event:
          Exceptions

          There are rare circumstances in which content may not remain available for re-download. For instance, if the publisher who originally made the content available to us for sale on the Kindle Store did not have the right to do so or is sued for defamation in connection with the content, we may be obligated to stop making it available for re-downloading from your library. Any copies you already have on your Kindle devices will not be affected.

          And that last bolded bit makes me you're totally right and this headline is, as is too often the case, totally misleading.

          Seriously, we slashdotters will have to revolt against our overlords if they keep misleading us ;-(

  • Shakespeare? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nospam007 (722110) * on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @03:38AM (#34557718)

    I hope they also remove Romeo and Juliet, since they had sex while Juliet was 14, a clear case of kiddie porn.

    • by umghhh (965931)
      they should put this Shakespear where he belongs. American Congress would do I think, especially if they also were put where they belong...
    • Re:Shakespeare? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rolfwind (528248) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @04:30AM (#34557976)

      I hope they also remove Romeo and Juliet, since they had sex while Juliet was 14, a clear case of kiddie porn.

      Exactly. I also hate that the author explaining himself in the way he does - to me that's validating the line of questioning valid. Especially when she says there is no underage incest in her books.

      Is "How to Train Your Dragon" then bad because there is underage violence? Or is that good because it was shown in all the theaters? I don't understand.

      Fanfiction.net went this way long ago, with authors having to rate their stories using MPAA guidelines. Yes Virginia, they think images on the screen translate into words for purposes of ratings, and had to put an R rating if there was drug use!

      WTF is fiction for if not exploring things that can't or shouldn't be explored in real life? Hell, why is a story that explores incest "bad" but when a newspaper reports it, it's okay to let even a 5 year old read? Why can action news report on Fritzl in the afternoon but all those type of storyline wait until after 9 pm?

      Sodom and Gomorrah anyone? Why is the bible a good book? Double standards are littering the landscape, and in each and every instance, it comes PC police with too much time on their hands.

      Personally, I would never buy this device that deigns to control my library. It's on there, you don't touch it. I don't care if the company thinks it's malware, copyright infringed, or for the children - delivery of books should be ONE WAY. Amazon should no more take digital books away than breaking into houses and stealing physical copies.

    • What about murder? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by captainpanic (1173915) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @04:36AM (#34558008)

      Hell, if incest is bad... what about murder?
      I think they should take down all books with murder, violence, incest, fraud, drug offenses, adultery, etc.

      In fact, why sell fiction books? It's all blasphemy anyway. We should devote our lives to studying the state-propaganda. If that's good enough for the state, it is good enough for us.

  • by siddesu (698447) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @03:41AM (#34557728)

    Except it is so sad, there's nothing to laugh about.

    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html [gnu.org]

  • Not Ownership (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't this prove you're actually just subsidizing their content delivery system?

    You don't actually own it, or anything on it.

  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @03:45AM (#34557750) Homepage Journal

    Not until this kind of crap stops being possible. I don't just mean "Amazon stops pulling Kindle books that people have already purchased and promises not to do it again," I mean when they can't -- i.e. when e-books can actually be purchased, in a non-DRM, non-phone-home format that the people who buy them actually own.

    Yes, I know there are people selling plain PDFs, and good for them. But Amazon is such a dominant force in the market that they're going to have to take the lead, or be replaced at the top spot. I'm not optimistic -- this is going to drag on for years, maybe decades, and the potential of the e-book market will go largely unfulfilled in the meantime.

    • by Osty (16825) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @03:57AM (#34557814)

      Kindle DRM has been broken for some time now. It's trivial to liberate your books. If you purchase anything from Amazon and don't liberate it, you have only yourself to blame when they kill-bit your book.

      So long as ebooks are sold at paper prices, they should be treated like paper books. You own them. You can loan them to other people, sell them to a used bookstore, etc. Some of that doesn't necessarily translate well to the digital world (what does it mean to sell a used ebook?), but the point is that if you're going to have to pay $10 or $12 (or even $20, since ebook prices are based off of the lowest-priced paper book and if only a hardcover is available you'll get a ridiculous ebook price) for an ebook it should be yours to keep. Amazon can't reach out and destroy a paper book you bought from them, and so they should not be allowed to do the same to an electronic book. For now, the only way to do this is to liberate your books after purchase. If Amazon (and other ebook sellers) want to treat ebook purchases as rentals, the prices should reflect that.

      • by Magada (741361)

        What you are suggesting is illegal in the US under the DMCA and may be illegal in other jurisdictions.

      • by julesh (229690) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @06:38AM (#34558690)

        Kindle DRM has been broken for some time now. It's trivial to liberate your books.

        Not if Amazon have removed them from their archive it isn't; you need to install (an older version of) Kindle for PC on your machine and redownload a version that's encrypted for that device. You used to be able to decrypt using a key that you can retrieve from your Kindle, but the latest firmware versions use a per-book key that AIUI can't be derived directly. When I bought a book from them in November, I could strip the DRM using my Kindle's PID. One I bought yesterday, I couldn't. Don't know when the change occurred.

      • wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

        by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland.yahoo@com> on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @01:15PM (#34562702) Homepage Journal

        Stop blaming the victim. It's Amazon's fault if a book goes away. Your attitude is the exact same one that allows this kind of shit to go on.

    • I hope you are right but fear you are wrong.

      The majority of normal people don't care until it actually happens to them and even then they may tolerate it. Add in piracy paranoia and amazons huge marketing power and I fear that they and similar services may remain a dominant force despite this shit.

      I plan to continue buying my books in dead tree format but if ebooks become too popular that may either cease to be an option or become very expensive.

    • by thijsh (910751)
      And draconian DRM is one of the reasons (along with for example their recent move against free speech) Amazon is on my list of boycotted companies. It's too bad for them because I shopped there frequently (and even shortly considered moving hosting operations there), and it's too bad for me because they were convenient. If they had some ethics I would more than willingly send them my money, but alas. There are more than enough smaller competitors willing to take my money instead...

      I'm not personally willi
  • Bestiality, SM, dozens of paraphilias, sex with amazon women... all sorts of promising possibilities.
  • by ghostdoc (1235612) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @03:46AM (#34557754)

    I was literally just looking at buying a Kindle for myself for Xmas...and then read this...

    I really really don't like the idea of Amazon being able to reach in to my library and burn my books.

    So what's the open alternative?

    • by Barny (103770) <bakadamage-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @03:54AM (#34557796) Homepage Journal

      Well, and keep this hush hush its new tech, there's these things called books, they are an analogue hard-copy format, the best part of them is, there is no link up to the cloud and no company has the rights to remotely disable your copy.

      They
      Just
      Work

      • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @04:20AM (#34557932) Journal

        How long will the battery last on these "book" things? Can I read them in the sun? What if they get wet, are they water proofed? Can I make notes on them? Can they display color? What is the resolution?

        Ah, see! Your "book" tech just can't compete! Bring me something that runs for centuries without a recharge, has a DPI over 300, can do infinite colors, is shock resistant, can be cheaply produced, easily resold 2nd hand and I can use to swat a fly with.

        We need the best and brightest for this! Maybe some tech from China improved by German engineering! We could test it on say the Bible, first runs might be worth a bit of money perhaps.

        • I have about 4600 science-fiction books in my ereader (the worst and cheapest of the market), so the true comparation is eBook Reader vs Library.

          Can you have 4500 books on your pockets? Wen I finish reading one book, I can choose any other, I don't have to wait.

        • by fredrik70 (161208)

          more importantly, does it run linux?

    • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @03:56AM (#34557806)
      With the exception of a few publishers that make non-DRMed books available (like Baen)... legally, there is none that I know of. I suggest you get yourself a netbook or tablet, then join the ebook piracy community. It runs on DC++ hubs, mostly.
      • by cgomezr (1074699) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @05:46AM (#34558406)

        Why a netbook or tablet? There are a lot of eInk readers that support formats without DRM. Off the top of my head, there is the iRex iLiad (which I have), the HanLin eReader, the Sony readers, several Netronix models, the Entourage Edge... here in Spain we even have local brands like the Grammata Papyre.

        It's sad that so many Americans seem to think that there's no eInk life outside of the Kindle... when the Kindle is the most closed and DRM-laden option, and there are quite a bunch of open alternatives. Really sad.

    • by MoonBuggy (611105)

      Given the choice I'd go for one of Sony's readers. Although the nook also supports ePub (with or without DRM), I've found that the vested interests of B&N led them to opt for an irritating level of lockdown even when it doesn't seem to serve any logical purpose, presumably because they want to retain control over the device just in case.

      Whatever you do buy, vote with your wallet on DRM. Gutenberg has a great selection, and although digital library books (which also aren't supported by the Kindle AFAIK)

      • by LainTouko (926420)

        and although digital library books (which also aren't supported by the Kindle AFAIK) do come with DRM, I consider the enforcement of a short term, free loan to be a reasonably valid use.

        Indeed, since the primary problem with DRM, and the reason why most instances of it are or should be illegal, is that any arrangement involving DRM can only ever be a type of loan, but many companies fraudulently claim to be 'selling' encumbered works, without turning over the full control over the item 'sold' that must be c

    • Buy something that supports epub. I would look at the Sony range, Kobo reader and the nook. I own a Sony, I have just bought my son a Kobo reader. Its worth knowing htat the DRM on epub is deflatable and code exists to allow you to easily remove it.
    • by el borak (263323) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @05:20AM (#34558270)

      So what's the open alternative?

      I think the Kindle is the alternative (though I wouldn't call it open). From my research it is definitely the best ebook reader currently on the market.

      The key is to use it the way you want rather than the way Amazon wants you to use it.

      Load up calibre [calibre-ebook.com] and find the freely available plugins which allow you to strip the DRM from your legally purchased ebooks. You can then back them up to your computer, as well as convert them to any format you like. Should Amazon pull a "we don't want you to have that" on you and delete a book, you simply restore a DRM-free version from your backup.

      Legal under the DMCA? I don't know and I don't care.

      Another advantage: you can convert to the open EPUB format, edit the HTML to correct mistakes, and then convert back to MOBI format for use on your Kindle. I've done that several times (typos and formatting errors in books drive me nuts).

      I finally purchased a Kindle about two months ago once I was satisfied that the DRM/lock-in was easily defeated and I love it. I've loaded it with books I'd previously purchased for Microsoft Reader in LIT format (again only after knowing that the CLIT program would allow me to strip away the DRM) by converting the LIT files to MOBI.

  • Heinlein too? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I wonder if they will also be removing Heinlein books. I think it was _Time Enough for Love_ that had some incest.

  • by thatseattleguy (897282) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @03:47AM (#34557758) Homepage
    I liked this part of TFA:

    As fellow author, Will Belegon, noted, if Amazon is going to start pulling books with incest in them: "I just re-read Genesis 19: 30-38 and realized that Lot's daughters got him drunk, had sex with him and bore sons. I demand you follow your clear precedent and remove The Bible from Kindle."

  • by a whoabot (706122) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @03:49AM (#34557764)

    So they'll be removing Nabokov's Lolita and Ada any time now...

  • DRM is bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @03:50AM (#34557776)

    this is why DRM is bad. Other parties control what you can or can't do with your property. Even if this was child porn - Amazon shouldn't be able to remove a damn thing from anyone's kindle.

    This is why I'll never buy anything with Digital Restriction Management in it... Give me something that I control, then we'll talk...

  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @03:55AM (#34557802)

    why I use open file formats (clear-text ascii, epub, pdf files) for my ebooks, non-networked ebook readers [wikipedia.org] even if they are more expensive than their Amazon- or B&N-sponsored brethren, and ebook management software [wikipedia.org] that I'm fairly sure doesn't call home to "manage" my digital rights.

    But, you might say, what if you want books that aren't in the public domain? You're right, it's almost impossible to legally find DRM-free recent ebooks from mainstream authors. As a result, I either scan/OCR someone's dead-tree version for myself, or download the DRM-free version, then I send the money directly to the author (usually the price listed at Amazon). That way:

    (1) I have files that I'm sure I'll always be able to read, and aren't tied to some vendor's idea of what I can or can't do with them, and what device I need to use to read them,
    (2) my favorite authors get the full amount of my payment and the greedy publishers none, and
    (3) the author's heirs get none of my money because I don't pay when the author is dead, which is how I think things should go in the copyright world.

  • Relax everyone! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nightfire-unique (253895) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @03:58AM (#34557816)

    A spokesperson from Amazon will surely allay our fears - they aren't taking any of the books about murder, massacres, or war! You'll still be able to get your fill reading about people being beheaded, stabbed, maimed, .. even burned to death!

    Honestly, what's all the fuss?

  • by fishexe (168879) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @04:03AM (#34557850) Homepage
    I sure hope they removed The Holy Bible, too. Lot has sex with both of his daughters, it's right there in Genesis. And Lot's even the hero of the story, the one righteous man allowed to escape Sodom. It would be a real shame if they applied a double standard.
    • I agree with you that if they were fair in the application of the standard the Bible should be removed too. One thing I want to point out is that Lot didn't voluntary sleep with his daughters .. so him being a righteous man stands as a valid point in the ancient fairy tale collection. Also, that one correction doesn't negate all the other valid contradictions and fucked up stuff in the Bible. Just stated the correction so you won't be attacked by pedantic people when making a similar point in the future.

      • by fishexe (168879)

        One thing I want to point out is that Lot didn't voluntary sleep with his daughters .. so him being a righteous man stands as a valid point in the ancient fairy tale collection.

        Good point, his daughters got him drunk and took advantage of his condition. So the incest is really on them, not him. Still a damn dirty story though. And he did voluntarily offer his virgin daughters up for gang rape by the angry mob of Sodomites. Kind of hard to call that sort of behavior righteous, in my book.

    • You can't have history books covering say Europe during Renaissance without some extensive Royal incest...

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @04:05AM (#34557856) Journal

    I just posted this in the "Anonymous cannot take down mega-corp Amazon" story, but it also fits extremely well here. Just add this, the TV/Radio/Newspapers became mega-corps. Now book-publishing might do the same along with the internet. And the mega-corp then decides what does and what does not get published. First they came for the incest writers. Who is next? There used to be small publishers like Olympia Press, funded by daring indivuduals operating on shoe string budgets that dared to publish what nobody else dared to. How can Olympia Press compete with Amazon? Hint: Olympia Press books are (or more likely were as they are often pornograhphic including incest themes) sold on Amazon, the company itself is gone.

    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1910334&cid=34557794 [slashdot.org]

    What we are seeing here has been seen before. If you ever wondered just why TV, radio and the newspapers all seem to be controlled by a handfull of men, then you must realize that this was not always the case. The first newspapers were created by concerned citizens, reasonably well off concernced citizens who could afford to setup a new business but hardly the super rich.

    First radio? Amateurs, geeks and nerds of their day who took their hobby of messing about with this new stuff to a new level. Ham radio to the max. Television? Same thing, done from peoples living room. Some dutch broadcasting license holders still got it in their name AVRO (Algemene Vereniging Radio Omroep) Veronica started as a pirate station to bring the new music of the age to the airwaves that the by then established AVRO and others didn't play. Or not enough.

    But Veronica, the pirate, went commerical and were bought out. Nothing of its original nature remains, it is now a mere name in SBS Broadcasting. A soulless mega-corp were absolutely nothing counts but ad-revenue.

    Yet how did this happen? How did we go from amateur and politically motivated Radio, TV and newspapers to the current mass-produced elite controlled bland media?

    It is simple. Scale. Veronica tried to go commercial on its own (the dutch broadcasting system is inexplainable but briefly, Veronica became part of the public network by a system where air time is allocated according to the number of subscribers a broadcaster has, there also exist commercial stations that opperate without a license fee support (used to be collected same as for the BBC, now it is part of normal taxes)) and failed. To small to survive this mistake it was bought and split up. A troublesome station, silenced. Veronica ONCE had a rather good news program with one of the few tv-presentors that actually followed up with though questions. Now it is the beavus and butthead station. It ALWAYS was young but with hints of rebellion and some principles, now it is just an MTV light. The young and mindless.

    As time moved on, radio stations, newspapers and tv broadcasters were bought up, consolidated with any small operator being unable to afford any stumble without it being preyed upon by richer soulless companies. Meanwhile the costs of starting a new newspaper, a new radio staton a new tv station became higher and higher. Who after all is going to run an add on a local station with no known talent or must-watch-tv when for the same money he can air his add nationwide?

    It has lead to the situation that right now a lot of media is controlled by just a few people who have very disturbing connections. Do you really expect Ruper Murdoch to dive into a banking scandal when he is close mated with the bankers? Of course not.

    BUT the internet is free... yeah, it used to be... but now, even a widely distrubuted site like Wikileaks can be severely hampered, raising the cost to Wikileaks to remain online. And how are they going to pay for it? Maybe use a small banker with high principles... oh but all the banks consolidated. Maybe use a small ISP with high principles.... oh but all the ISP's consolidated... maybe use a DNS provide

  • by Jugalator (259273) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @04:07AM (#34557868) Journal

    First taking down hosting for Wikileaks despite not being charged with anything just because they feel like it'd be fun, and then this, also just because they feel like doing it. Like Wikileaks, the books are again not illegal, and I suspect many readers thought we were over book burning. This is even worse - taking the books out of the hand of their readers having purchased them, and *then* burning them. It's getting pretty hard here to not fall into that Godwin hole [wikipedia.org].

    Was Amazon seeing a lot of bad press over openly offering books to read, or what?

  • Do those who have their purchased books removed at least get their money back? Otherwise it's plain theft. The real kind of theft, not copyright infringement. No license "agreements" can change that.

    I have a Kindle but I wouldn't dream of putting myself in this position. I only buy DRM free (often watermarked though) books that I can convert to mobi format and read on the Kindle, and there are tons of free books out there as well. Oh, my next ebook reader will NOT be a Kindle, that's for sure.

    I used to
    • Bookstores shouldn't censor content based on some stupid conservative "morals", only follow what is absolutely required by law.

      Why should they do that? Bookstores, virtual or not, are private enterprises and carry whatever book they want, leaving out what they think isn't appropriate. That's why Christian bookstores usually don't offer Justine. In fact, any company has the right to sell you only a subset of anything they like: if I own a hardware store and my religion dictates that Phillips screws are evil,

  • Does this also include the fantasy series by George R.R. Martin ? Hell what about Shakespeare and other Literature works ? If amazon wants to ban books this way shouldn't they also take this books out of their traditional webshop sortiment as well ? I don't understand why they would do this on the electronic side then sell the traditional book on other , makes no sense.

  • When did it all start going wrong? How did we willingly turn over control of our culture to greedy corporates? We condemn regimes with censorship, but are blind to what we have become ourselves.
  • by unity100 (970058) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @04:29AM (#34557972) Homepage Journal
    amazon is a private company and has the right to refuse business to anyone it wants. of course, it may be controlling 60-80-whatever % of online sales, but, it is well within their right to do so.

    in the meantime, the citizens of united states, who do not want censorship, can wait for another company to come and challenge them and grab enough market share from them to be accessible and well priced with the same selection. it may take 5-10 years, but hey ! at least, you are free ! even if you may not have the means to practice your freedom until the 'free market' adjusts itself with the act of 'invisible hand' in 10 years !!
    • amazon is a private company and has the right to refuse business to anyone it wants.

      The issue is, that they _did_ want my business by selling me the kindle in the first place. Censoring the content for that device _after_ I bought it, is not OK.

  • by jIyajbe (662197) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @04:37AM (#34558020)

    I don't like Amazon's decision, but it's their right. They are NOT the government.

    I shop at Whole Foods Market. They refuse to sell any products that contain high fructose corn syrup; their business model involves looking, acting, and (hopefully) being healthier than the other grocery chains. Can I reasonably complain that they are attacking my freedom of choice by not selling products that contain HFCS? I have to go to a second store to get Twinkies, but I knew when I went to WF that I would not be able to find Twinkies there.

    If you want incest-related fiction, you will have to shop somewhere that sells it. Amazon chooses not to.

    • by deniable (76198) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @04:57AM (#34558146)
      No, they're wrong. This isn't refusing to sell a product, but destroying the product after the paying customer has taken possession of it.
    • by guspasho (941623)

      Have you heard of the phrase "peasant mentality"?

      I don't like Amazon's decision AND I do not believe they should have the right to make it. The government ought to step in and protect our property rights.

      If Whole Foods doesn't want to sell me something, that's fine, because I know I can go elsewhere. But it is illegal for Whole Foods to sell me something, and then break into my house afterward and destroy the food I bought from them, much less without a refund. So should it be with Amazon.

    • by fredrik70 (161208)

      I think the issue here is more that Amazon have the ability to reach into your kindle and remove books *after* you bought them.
      Amazon did sell these books and decided to stop, fair enough. but going into the device and remove it from everyone who bouight it digitally is a step over the line. It's a bit Amazon forcing themselves into your home and going through your bookshelf removing books it deems 'wrong'

  • by VShael (62735) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @04:46AM (#34558078) Journal

    That's when Amazon takes it upon themselves to update books on your Kindle, without your knowledge.

    They'll probably sell it as a feature, first. Science text books for college, for example. Every year, we'll upgrade your copy to the latest version, etc...

    But one day, it will be "Those historical facts no longer represent the current thinking of the administration. So remove those historical facts from this text book, and replace them with these approved-facts."

    • by Magada (741361)

      It's already being done. There is no such thing as an "edition" with e-books. They are modified at the whim of the publisher.

  • I don't buy it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @04:53AM (#34558118)

    After the 1984 incident, Amazon was sued by a customer and settled for $150,000. They also agreed not to remove books from customer's devices - not just in a wishy-washy statement but in their court settlement:

    For copies of Works purchased pursuant to TOS granting "the non-exclusive right to
    keep a permanent copy" of each purchased Work and to "view, use and display [such Works] an
    unlimited number of times, solely on the [Devices] . . . and solely for [the purchasers'] personal,
    non-commercial use," Amazon will not remotely delete or modify such Works from Devices
    purchased and being used in the United States unless (a) the user consents to such deletion or
    modification; (b) the user requests a refund for the Work or otherwise fails to pay for the Work
    (e.g., if a credit or debit card issuer declines to remit payment); (c) a judicial or regulatory order
    requires such deletion or modification; or (d) deletion or modification is reasonably necessary to
    protect the consumer or the operation of a Device or network through which the Device
    communicates (e.g., to remove harmful code embedded within a copy of a Work downloaded to
    a Device). This paragraph does not apply to (a) applications (whether developed or offered by
    Amazon or by third parties), software or other code; (b) transient content such as blogs; or (c)
    content that the publisher intends to be updated and replaced with newer content as newer
    content becomes available. With respect to newspaper and magazine subscriptions, nothing in
    this paragraph prohibits the current operational practice pursuant to which older issues are
    automatically deleted from the Device to make room for newer issues, absent affirmative action
    by the Device user to save older issues.

    http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/amazon20091001.pdf [wsj.com]

    If Amazon did this again, then they may be in for another lawsuit. I can believe that they removed the books from their service. But it doesn't make sense for them to pull the books from devices. Until we see more evidence than a couple of random unnamed sources in a blog post, I don't buy it.

  • Fahrenheit 451 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tuqui (96668) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @05:01AM (#34558166) Homepage

    A step to "Fahrenheit 451". I already deleted my Amazon account.

  • by Daedalon (848458) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @05:52AM (#34558436)

    This kind of move is not only against the freedom of press and speech. It's also against the society by increasing sexual abuse, especially of children. See article Porn: Good for us? [the-scientist.com] and its references (emphasis added).

    To examine the effect this widespread use of porn may be having on society, researchers have often exposed people to porn and measured some variable such as changes in attitude or predicted hypothetical behaviors, interviewed sex offenders about their experience with pornography, and interviewed victims of sex abuse to evaluate if pornography was involved in the assault. Surprisingly few studies have linked the availability of porn in any society with antisocial behaviors or sex crimes. Among those studies none have found a causal relationship and very few have even found one positive correlation.

    Despite the widespread and increasing availability of sexually explicit materials, according to national FBI Department of Justice statistics, the incidence of rape declined markedly from 1975 to 1995. This was particularly seen in the age categories 20–24 and 25–34, the people most likely to use the Internet. The best known of these national studies are those of Berl Kutchinsky, who studied Denmark, Sweden, West Germany, and the United States in the 1970s and 1980s. He showed that for the years from approximately 1964 to 1984, as the amount of pornography increasingly became available, the rate of rapes in these countries either decreased or remained relatively level. Later research has shown parallel findings in every other country examined, including Japan, Croatia, China, Poland, Finland, and the Czech Republic. In the United States there has been a consistent decline in rape over the last 2 decades, and in those countries that allowed for the possession of child pornography, child sex abuse has declined . Significantly, no community in the United States has ever voted to ban adult access to sexually explicit material. The only feature of a community standard that holds is an intolerance for materials in which minors are involved as participants or consumers.

    In terms of the use of pornography by sex offenders, the police sometimes suggest that a high percentage of sex offenders are found to have used pornography. This is meaningless, since most men have at some time used pornography. Looking closer, Michael Goldstein and Harold Kant found that rapists were more likely than nonrapists in the prison population to have been punished for looking at pornography while a youngster, while other research has shown that incarcerated nonrapists had seen more pornography, and seen it at an earlier age, than rapists. What does correlate highly with sex offense is a strict, repressive religious upbringing.

    Repressive, religious upbringing is exactly what porn bans are.

  • by Fizzol (598030) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @07:01AM (#34558816)
    So, "and removed from the Kindles of purchasers of the books" isn't true. The books were pulled from user's online archives however. That's still a bad move, but not the same situation as 1984. If Amazon decides to stop carrying incest stories, graphic or implied, that's up to them. But, naturally, they're going about it all wrong, again.

Possessions increase to fill the space available for their storage. -- Ryan

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