Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Terms and Conditions

It was interesting for me, as a Kindle user, to hear about Amazon’s remote deletion of e-texts of Nineteen Eighty-Four because it was guilty of a breach of copyright in selling them. Aside from the fact that it’s a little uncomfortable that a big, multi-national corporation can delve into my Kindle – which I think of as a private and personal resource – at will, I wonder how aware Amazon was of what they were doing. If we give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they weren’t aware that the sale of this particular version was illegal, it does beg the question what chance has Joe (or Janet) Everyman got when it comes to copyright law, without teams of experienced business lawyers at their disposal?
In fact, I’d widen this to any aspect of the legal contract…after all, most of us (let’s be honest) don’t read the terms when we install a new program or piece of software, choosing the quick route of the “I accept” button and ignoring that niggling feeling that you could be signing your life away, so to speak. I’ve often thought that the companies that put out these software programs should include a plainer, more simply worded version of the contract alongside the official one. This dumbed down one wouldn’t be legally binding, but it might provide some idea of what is and isn’t permissible on the part of the user, whereas legal contracts are often so full of technicalities and hypothetical scenarios they seem largely incomprehensible.


  1. I find the idea that Amazon have the ability to reach into our kindle devices and remotely delete any of the content present there. It is quite alarming to think that despite the fact that you pay good money for kindle content it is never truly yours and is effectively 'on loan'.
    I would hate to have been one of those unlucky people who switched on their kindle devices only to be one book short of their full collections. I really think more needs to be done about this.
    Having said this, I still firmly believe that the kindle is a great device and have owned two myself. I now have the latest kindle 'keyboard' device and think it's a great piece of technology. Mine is full of books. I love the fact that you are able to pick up free classics and other novel collections in the kindle marketplace. It's such a joy to use as well that I positively look forward to powering on my kindle when on the way to school on the train. The only challenge is finding time in the day to read all these great books!!

  2. I am pretty surprised at the idea of people being able to delve into your kindle at take away your books. I'm still pretty tempted to get one though, the new one is all over amazon at the moment and I've just about had it with norton anthology-style tomes of densely written text.
    Can't remember where I read this, but apparently in South Korea (or Singapore maybe?) they are proposing plans to phase out textbooks in their schools and have them replaced completely with tablets and e-books by like 2015.
    Which probably means the backwards-looking UK will follow in their footsteps in a couple of decades time...


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