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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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  • 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."

  • 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...

  • Re:1984 (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @04:05AM (#34557858)

    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.

  • by MrQuacker (1938262) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @04:17AM (#34557916)
    You say that yet provide no quote or link!
    There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.
  • Re:Shakespeare? (Score:3, Informative)

    by somecreepyoldguy (1255320) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @04:48AM (#34558090)
    OK then what about Lot's daughters? That one is very specific, and specifically relates to incest.
  • 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.
  • Re:Heinlein too? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Nialin (570647) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @05:00AM (#34558158)
    Actually, the GP is correct. It was something I was going to make a comment on.

    In "Time Enough for Love", Heinlein's main character, Lazarus Long, diligently details the implications of twins' bedroom antics, and the potential for corrupted progeny. The suspect twins are being sold as sexual slaves and promoted as "pure" so that they are to bear children with no defects, thereby making them prime retail cattle. He buys them so as to free them from this life for which they were essentially created.

    Not only that, but LL replicated himself in the form of two young girls (identical twins), and, at a point, consummates his fatherly/masturbatory/brotherly relationship with the both of them...frequently. None of this is in explicit detail, of course, but it is definitely mentioned so that there is no question of the act occurring.
  • Re:Shakespeare? (Score:3, Informative)

    by aamcf (651492) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @05:09AM (#34558214) Homepage

    Actually, the sin of Sodom is made very clear in the Bible, in Ezekiel 16:49-50 [biblegateway.com]:

    Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.

    They did not help the poor and needy. Nothing to do with sex, gay or otherwise. I wrote something about this a few years ago [testimony-magazine.org].

  • 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.

  • Re:Shakespeare? (Score:3, Informative)

    by aamcf (651492) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @05:32AM (#34558348) Homepage

    There is no doubt that the attempted rape of the angels was pretty detestable, but why would it be typical? If Sodom was known for being full of rapists, why didn't Ezekiel say? Why did Christ talk about Sodom in the context of inhospitality, not rape?

  • Re:Shakespeare? (Score:4, Informative)

    by grolschie (610666) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @05:57AM (#34558466)
    Ok, here you go: Jude 1:7 [biblegateway.com]: "In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire."
  • Re:Shakespeare? (Score:5, Informative)

    by jimicus (737525) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @06:23AM (#34558580)

    Couldn't get much stronger short of a sex scene. Juliet is wailing about Romeo not being there on their wedding night (they married in secret, then Romeo scarpered after killing Juliet's cousin) and retires to bed, announcing "Death, not Romeo shall take my maidenhead!" [virginity]; meanwhile Nurse seeks out Romeo and tells him to go comfort his bride.

    Romeo (after much melodrama - he reckons Juliet will be at least slightly peeved that he killed her cousin and Nurse has to persuade him that this isn't the case) leaves for Juliet. Next scene we see them together in Juliet's room the morning after, Nurse comes up to warn that Juliet's mum is on the way up. Romeo jumps out the window - Juliet may not be too bothered about Romeo having killed her cousin, but the rest of the family sure are.

    It's probably safe to assume that seeing as Romeo spent the wedding night with Juliet (who was fully expecting to lose her virginity that night), they did have sex.

  • 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).

  • 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] )

  • 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.

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

    by julesh (229690) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @06:55AM (#34558786)

    TFA doesn't even state that books were removed from devices. It states they were removed from the customers' archive; i.e. they couldn't redownload the book for a new device if they chose to.

  • 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 ;-(

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