Let me cut right to the chase here, Jim. YOU can put any content you want up on Amazon's Kindle Store. Until recently no one was checking. If you want to type out or scan a book that you don't have the rights to and SELL it on the Kindle Store, Amazon doesn't know it until the real owner complains. That's what happened with the Orwell content and it happened because some wag wanted to create this very type of conversation in the midst of the greatest publishing freedom in history. It's a great boon to be able to publish and sell your documents directly to the people who want to read them without the behest of some paper grinder, and that is what's been compromised by this stupid stunt with Orwell's work. Amazon has the responsibility of not distributing plagiarized work and when they discover plagiarism stopping it by all means in their power. They returned the money. They did not make the innocent purchaser pay for the crime out of their pockets. The
owners of the work trump the poor people who were inconvenienced by this scam. But the content is now legitimately available on Kindle. I would not be amazed to learn that Dwight Holly and Wayne Tedrow, Jr. actually concocted these plagerised docs and that Don Crutchfield is spearheading the "civil suite" against Amazon.
--- On Wed, 11/18/09, JIM DOHERTY <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
From: JIM DOHERTY <email@example.com>
Subject: RARA-AVIS: Re: state of NY publishing
Date: Wednesday, November 18, 2009, 10:33 AM
Re your question below (presuming that it's actually a serious question, which, all things considered, is one hell of presumption) :
"Really? So, why does it seem '1984' when a counterfeit book is discovered, confiscated and the money returned to the people who bought it? That seems rather a better deal than one gets most places."
I'm assuming that, by "counterfeit book," you mean a book that was purchased for Kindle, then revoked from Kindle after it was discovered that the seller hadn't actually obtained the right to sell electronic versions.
First, it's not analagous because there is a law, and has been since the end of the Civil War, against being in possession of or passing counterfeit money. If you are found to have been in possession of counterfeit money, or to have passed it, you have to show you obtained it in good faith and didn't know it was counterfeit so that law enforcement can trace it back to its source.
In the case of a book being un-downloaded from you Kindle, the good faith in which you bought it is presumed, and there is no parallel crucial necessity of tracing the book back to its source .
Second, because a book sold in these circumstances is not "counterfeit" in the same a way a phony hundred dollar bill is. All the words of the book are there, in the order in which the writer wrote them. It's not a fake version of the book. It's the same book. It's just something the seller didn't have a right to sell. It's more analagous to buying a stolen item in good faith, then having to give it back after finding out it was stolen.
By contrast, passing a counterfeit bank note makes you, however unwittingly, a part of the fraud, rather than just a victim of the fraud.
Third, because counterfeit money represents a clear and present danger to the economy that selling a book without having the legal right to sell it does not. That's why the investigation into reports of countefeit currency is so rigorous and immediate, and that's why penalties for counterfeiting are so high.
Finally, getting a book downloaded into, then unloaded out of, a device that didn't even exist a short time ago, and that you clearly don't have ultimate control over even though you've bought it, evokes the "fear of the future and of technology" that Orwell's book evoked and, consequently, is "1984" in a way that an old-school crime like counterfeiting simply can't be, since counterfeiting money is as old as money itself.
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