Amazon faces a fight over control of its eBooks

Some Kindle fans want Amazon to give up its use of a technology called digital rights management, which allows the company to maintain strict control of its eBooks, reports the New York Times. Last week, Jeffrey P. Bezos, chief executive of Amazon, offered a mea culpa to customers whose digital editions of George Orwell’s 1984 were remotely deleted from their Kindle reading devices. Though copies of the books were sold by a bookseller that did not have legal rights to the novel, Bezos wrote on a company forum that Amazon’s "‘solution’ to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles." But his apology wasn’t enough for many people. A growing number of civil libertarians and customer advocates wants Amazon to fundamentally alter its method for selling Kindle books, lest it be forced to one day change or recall books–perhaps by a judge ruling in a defamation case, or by a government deciding a particular work is politically damaging or embarrassing. "As long as Amazon maintains control of the device, it will have this ability to remove books–and that means they will be tempted to use it, or they will be forced to use it," said Holmes Wilson of the Free Software Foundation…

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