In a move that is causing an uproar for Amazon Kindle owners Amazon has unilaterally removed books previously purchased by Kindle owners. The reason Amazon deletes Orwell books from Kindle was a claim by Amazon that an unauthorized copy of the book was made available in the Amazon online store.

Geore Orwell



George Orwell – 1984 and Animal Farm Author


The books 1984 and Animal Farm, removed from Kindle without notice from Amazon, were made available through the Amazon online store and were removed by the company without warning. Read more and see a classic ad below.

The controversy occurred when Amazon was informed that the copyright holder in the United States was claiming that the copy being distributed online was in violation of the copyright. Amazon then removed the books not only from the online store, but reached out and removed the books from any Kindle owner who happened to purchase on or both of the books. No warning, just poof, no more book.

Obviously this has caused quite the uproar. Amazon also acknowledged the fact that they mis-handled the situation by releasing the following statement found here:

“We are changing our systems so that in the future we will not remove books from customers’ devices in these circumstances,”

We’re not hearing a great deal about this, but let’s take a minute to think of another scenario which may illustrate the point a bit better. Imagine if you purchased a song off of iTunes that Apple had listed in their iTunes Store. You submit the payment and begin happily listening to your song. Well, after you purchase the song Apple decides to remove the song from the store, and not only that they set up a process where the song would be erased from the iPod and your computer. Imagine the outrage. I know I’d be upset.

Amazon needs to up their screening process before they allow these types of books to be posted. The problem becomes that in certain countries like Canada, Australia and Russia, the copyright has expired and the book becomes part of the public domain. Get’s a bit confusing I’m sure, but they ought to do a better job of protecting their customers and their rights.

1984 Apple Ad

It’s a big deal to hear that Amazon deletes Orwell books from Kindle. To have 1984 and Animal Farm removed from those who have legitimately purchased the books is causing PR problems. Amazon ought to work out a better process for resolving such disputes and screening what is allowed in their store. What do you think? Who is in the right, Amazon for removing the items or the customers who purchased the books relying on Amazon to provide the product? The good news is that if you purchased such an e-book then Amazon will process a rebate for a lot of people.





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23 Responses to “Amazon Deletes Orwell Books From Kindle: 1984 and Animal Farm Removed”

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  1. 1
    paul Says:

    the whole thing stinks of an attempt at subtle censorship.


  2. 2
    Danny Says:

    Who could be so stupid at Amazon as to drop the important books 1984 and Animal Farm? Some disgruntled right-winger perhaps?


  3. 3
    Douglas W. Reynolds, Jr. Says:

    Ha ha ha! Big Brother at work! Trust me, Orwell would have loved it!

    –another reason to love hard copy.


  4. 4
    Bruce Says:

    “Who could be so stupid at Amazon as to drop the important books 1984 and Animal Farm? Some disgruntled right-winger perhaps?”

    Those books are about socialism dude. So it would most likely the disgruntled “left-wingers”


  5. 5
    Gerry L. Says:

    Better grab “Fahrenheit 451″ fast !!!


  6. 6
    Douglas W. Reynolds, Jr. Says:

    Left wingers don’t get disgruntled. And actually both books are anti-fascist, so it would have to be a right-winger if it were ideological. But no, it is just a matter of copyright infringement and a rather desperate CYA attempt by Amazon. We are in the “dog days” of summer news once more . . . .


  7. 7
    Donald Berrian Says:

    I have seen it claimed elsewhere that Amazon isn’t actually selling copies of the books, they are licensing them. In that case, their customers don’t have any rights to the copies they paid for and all of Amazon’s advertisements about the Kindle are a fraud


  8. 8
    Dawn Says:

    Obama is a fascist…………….have you not noticed the harassment of those that speak out against him? Thugs in black harassing an ex-marine female in Texas for telling a Obama fund raiser where to put herself, Major Cook security clearance threatened and then fired from his regular job for asking for proof of Obama’s birth certicate therefore his qualifications to be Commander in Chief able to order service members and the Reserve Major Cook overseas……the resulting lawsuit resulteed in the military rescinded his orders followed by his firing, the Plumbers harassment just because Obama screwed up and mentioned his redistributing plans for the US, use of pro O-bot prosecuting office threatening to go after those that spoke against Obama pre-election.


  9. 9
    JS Says:

    Amazon is effectively licensing, not selling a copy — except that their terms of service grant a right to a permanent copy on one’s device. So it’s a license to the extent that one moves/shares copies among devices, or deletes and re-downloads. But once one has a copy on their device, under the terms of service, it’s theirs to keep.

    Regardless, the making of the copy on the device is a violation that cannot be undone by later deleting it. So it doesn’t appear to me that any legal purpose was served by deleting those copies that had already been delivered.

    One last thing. Ryan, you state that “The problem becomes that in certain countries like Canada, Australia and Russia, the copyright has expired and the book becomes part of the public domain.”

    I would say this differently. The problem is that the US has been continually extending copyright terms, seemingly ad infinitum, every time Disney complains that the Steamboat Willie version of Mickey Mouse is about to enter the public domain. This creates all kinds of problems. (See James Boyle’s thepublicdomain.org for a full discussion.)

    That is, the problem is with the US, not with the other countries you mention.


  10. 10
    Douglas W. Reynolds, Jr. Says:

    We may never know what Cuckoo’s Nest rosy-fingered Dawn dropped from–if that is not an astonishing dea ex machina I don’t know what is. But JS, the question of “intellectual property” is certainly complex, and even avuncular old Walt Disney would have spent his last dime on genuine cutthroat lawyers to protect poor Steamboat Willie. If you don’t create something yourself, or pay the creator or owner for it, why would you believe you should profit from its sale, today or a thousand years from now? The analog might be that after fifty years (or whatever the time period), you could enter an artist’s home and take his painting off his wall and sell it for your own profit. I don’t get it.


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