Per this Blog Post at Balkinization, Kindle has reached out and deleted two books from those Kindles that had dowloaded them. In so doing, they did refund the customer's money.
The New York Times reports that Amazon.com found out that the publisher of Kindle versions of George Orwell's books♥ 1984 and Animal Farm decided that it didn't want to give the rights to a Kindle version♦. So Amazon.com used its wireless connection to each Kindle to delete copies on various owners' Kindles and refunded their money. You see, because of the wireless connection, Amazon.com knows what books are on your Kindle and it can delete them or modify them at will.As the Blog Post author points out, this raises again the whole question of "tethered appliances." Tethered appliances are things where some of the software is stored "off device" and you call for it when you needed it. Examples include the iPhone and, as I recall, a move by Microsoft to have minimal PCs with the Microsquish Office being on a central server, accessed over the internet. One person who worries about this seems to be Jonathan Zittrain, who has a blog and a book.
I am not angry about this, but I am disappointed. It is like the $140 book. There seems to be a certain desperation out in the publishing world and it is leading to bad decisions and dumb decisions.
Someone I know via the internet has a workaround. This person does not use Amazon's WhisperNet♣, but rather downloads from Amazon directly to his computer. Then writes the file to the Kindle. And never turns on the Kindle WhisperNet access to the internet. This person notes that when you open up the WhisperNet you are not only downloading what you want but may be getting additional downloads, which you don't want.
But, Amazon has reacted quickly to the outrage this deletion of downloads seems to have caused and promises to do things differently in the future.
And a hat tip to "Dean."
Regards — Cliff
♠ He was expected in 1984.
♥ I just love the irony.
♦ Clausewitz tells us first reports are always wrong. A more recent report suggest that the Publisher never had the rights to give to Amazon. That isn't good management practice.
♣ Older web page with a discussion of Whispernet.