I love gadgets. WAIT! I know obvious statement coming from a guy blogging on a gaming website, but before you click away let me tell you about one of my favorites.
I am an early adopter of the Kindle, amazons wireless reading device. In case you either don’t read or live in a cave I’ll clue you in to this sweet little piece of tech. It’s about the size of a large paperback book, looks like apple designed it (in a good way), connects to 3g networks to wireless purchase books ANYWHERE, has a screen that looks like normal paper so you don’t get eye strain reading on it like a normal screen and to top it off most books are considerably cheaper on it. Now if you aren’t a reader none of this even close to matters, but this thing has the potential to be the iPod of the literary world. And they’ve recently given all of us a LOT to think about.
Last week a legal problem arose over copyright/distribution issues with George Orwells books "Animal Farm" and "1984". Both of these books were pulled from the kindle store, amazon’s online retail space for purchasing e-books for the kindle device. No big deal right? Books, games, music, all of these things and more go in and out of print all the time. Just try and find a new copy of "Little Nemo: The Dream Master" for NES. See? Ya can’t. Enter digital distribution. Let me say that I am a huge backer of this method of sales. I have loads of (legally) downloaded content on every device that supports it. Sometimes when a device breaks it’s a bit of a pain to get to use the content to its full potential again, like when you get a new xbox 360, but all in all it’s a pretty good system, even though it’s in it’s infancy. We’re seeing the first big defect.
Amazon didn’t just pull the content from their store, they pulled it from our KINDLES. Yes, if you left your kindle wireless switch on and had purchased either of the aforementioned books they were gone and you had received a refund. I’m not accusing amazon of stealing, nor am I upset at the copyright holders for execrising their rights to this intellectual property. What I am upset about is the fact that somehow we’re at a place where data is unownable. What did I pay for? (Let it be know I did not purchase either of these books) If some mishap occured with a physical copy nothing could be done except offering a refund to people who were willing to bring the book back. No one could come to your house and take it from your bookshelf as quite a few news outlets have likened what amazon did to. The bottom line is we need to get informed about what we’re paying for as customers. When we get the next nintendo/xbox/PS console will our VC/Xbox Arcade/PSN games be relics of the past, possibly torn from our consoles because they are "no longer available" for use on older consoles? The implications of this move are staggering.
Even though I LOVE my kindle AND amazon I for one won’t purchase anything else from them until they rectify this situation. If they made the mistake of selling a book without permission they should have to pay the price, not by taking back the book but by settling with the copyright holder. If the copyright holder decided they just don’t like the kindle anymore then they have every right to prohibit further sales of the property, but not to take back what they sold us. We need to stand up as customers/consumers of digital products and demand fair treatment for what we pay for. If we don’t make ourselves heard now these types of shenanigans will haunt us for years to come because digital distribution is only going to get bigger from here on out.