Friday, July 31, 2009

Amazon & Kindle-The New Big Brother?

My Kindle ate my homework? - Top Stocks Blog - MSN Money

A Michigan teen is suing Amazon for removing his copy of "1984" from his Kindle, causing his electronic references to the book to become useless and causing him to be unable to turn in his homework in a timely manner. Amazon deleted electronic copies of the book during a copyright dispute.

How ironic that the book referenced in this lawsuit is "1984". While I abhor frivolous lawsuits in general, I am interested to see how this one pans out. That a company can just take something back that you purchased in good faith due to an error they made is scary. With our increased reliance on electronic devices, this could potentially become a disturbing trend.

A few questions not answered in this article: Was this teen reimbursed for the cost of the e-book when it was removed? Was he notified that the book would be removed, therefore giving him the opportunity to back up his work? The most obvious question is what kind of monetary value can you place on lost homework? Given that this student was in Advanced Placement classes, this late assignment could have significantly lowered his grade, or even caused him to fail all together if the teacher refused to accept late work. This could lead to lower GPA, inability to get into the school of his choice, lost scholarship or grant opportunities....yes, I could go on but I will save these arguments for the lawyers.

My concern is that a company can reach out into your personal property and take away property that you have paid for. By opening ourselves up to increased electronic monitoring and living our lives in the public eye (Twitter, blogs, YouTube, etc.) I believe that we will see more instances of this type of behavior with regards to electronic material in the future. I have a feeling that this case, if accepted by the federal court, could set a precedent in how companies deal with electronic material in the future.

1 comment:

  1. So true! It is scary to think of the personal information that can be hacked into from our devices we have come to depend on! I love the blog! :)