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Arts and Culture

Teen Sues Amazon Over Orwell Recall

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Posted on Aug 3, 2009

Amazon’s Kindle reader might still be a great device in the estimation of some literary aficionados, but the honeymoon is over for Michigan high school student (and potential member of Future Lawyers of America) Justin D. Gawronski, who’s getting litigious with the online superseller after his copy of George Orwell’s “1984” was yanked from his Kindle in July.


The high school student, Justin D. Gawronski, filed suit in a Seattle court along with California resident Antoine J. Bruguier, and they are seeking class action status.

Amazon forcibly (and ironically) recalled copies of George Orwell’s “1984” and “Animal Farm” earlier this month after it was revealed that they were unauthorized. Justin Gawronski’s complaint alleges that he was reading “1984” as summer reading for an advanced-placement class and had to turn in “reflections” on each hundred pages. With the loss of the digital book, Gawronski claims his page count was thrown off and his notes were “rendered useless because they no longer referenced the relevant parts of the book.”

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By SteveL, August 5, 2009 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

Perhaps paper copies of these books are not so bad after all.

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By Jim Yell, August 5, 2009 at 6:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Amazon probably worries the 1984 and other novels are getting too close to the truth of what has happened to modern people’s lives. I knew we were in trouble when Yahoo started making censoring programs for governments, and they aren’t the only ones.

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By ardee, August 4, 2009 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

So, I buy a device, it is my property as is everything stored upon it. Yet the contents can be remotely erased or otherwise altered?

What am I missing here?

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By Folktruther, August 4, 2009 at 11:15 am Link to this comment

I don’t think your paranoid Russian Paul.  That is the future of a neoliberal police state.

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By hippie4ever, August 4, 2009 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

This is the second disturbing event to come from Amazon: earlier on many gay and lesbian books were surpressed; Corporate said it was accidental but few believed them.

The unaddressed issue is our copyright laws, which thwart creativity in order to inflate wealth and control. Musicians in particular have been adversely affected by the overly-restrictive laws preventing sampling. Visual artists are also harmed: on Saturday I went to the King Tut exhibit and an art student wanted to sketch a golden coffin. The guard ordered her to stop and put it away, citing legal copyright concerns.

The copyright laws need to be changed. They existed to protect creative work but have been sabotaged into a force contrary to creativity, in order to increase corporate wealth. I hope the students win their case and use the proceeds to complete their educations.

I sort of agree with Boggs insofar as Amazon is shit.

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Russian Paul's avatar

By Russian Paul, August 3, 2009 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment

Even if the books weren’t removed for any nefarious reason, it just goes to show how creepy this software is. Hypothetically, in the future, certain controversial books can be removed, redacted, erased or just not electronically published and die off with only a few people owning the original paper copies. Sorry to go off on a paranoid tangent, but this software scares the shit out of me…

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By boggs, August 3, 2009 at 5:07 pm Link to this comment

Come on, give Amazon a break. S**t happens. Sometimes its unavoidable.

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