I read on one of the Free Software Foundation's websites the following claim:

This is not conspiracy -- we know this capability exists because Amazon has previously deleted copies of 1984 from users' Kindles.

I found this very implausible. Did Amazon actually remove copies of 1984 from people's Kindles remotely? What possible benefit could Amazon get out of it?

1 Answer 1


It happened due to alleged copyright infringement in July 2009

On Friday, it was “1984” and another Orwell book, “Animal Farm,” that were dropped down the memory hole — by Amazon.com.

In a move that angered customers and generated waves of online pique, Amazon remotely deleted some digital editions of the books from the Kindle devices of readers who had bought them.

An Amazon spokesman, Drew Herdener, said in an e-mail message that the books were added to the Kindle store by a company that did not have rights to them, using a self-service function. “When we were notified of this by the rights holder, we removed the illegal copies from our systems and from customers’ devices, and refunded customers,” he said.

Amazon Erases Orwell Books From Kindle

Note that they removed only a particular set of those books, so the book remained available in the stores and on many Kindles. The claim doesn't imply otherwise but it needs to be read carefully.

  • 7
    yup, someone put up for sale versions of the books that were in violation of intellectual property laws and Amazon promptly deleted them to be in compliance with the law and prevent being held responsible. They've since changed their policies on this so users don't lose their purchases unless there's a court order (or so I understand the new rules).
    – jwenting
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 5:32

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