Amazon ate my homework!!
17-year-old Justin Gawronski planned on completing a summer AP English class in preparation for his senior year at Eisenhower High School in Michigan. He bought a copy of George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-four” from Amazon to read on his Kindle.
Justin had already started reading the book and keeping notes on his Kindle. In July, 2009, and without notice to Kindle owners, Amazon deleted the entire book as well as another book, “Animal Farm” from their Kindle service. This left Justin’s notes worthless since they referred to specific sections of the text. Evidently, Amazon had received the books from a third-party supplier who didn’t have the right to sell them.
Justin’s lawsuit seeks to prevent this from happening again. “When you think that you own something and don’t own it – that’s not how it should be,” commented Justin. His lawyer indicated that any proceeds from the case would be donated to charity.
Update: In September, 2009, Amazon offered purchasers of Orwell’s books a refund of $30 to $60 or the Kindle version of the books. Amazon apologized for removing the books from Kindle owners’ accounts after obtaining the rights to sell the books. The case settled out-of-court with Amazon agreeing to not delete or modify works on Kindle and payment of $150,000 to Justin and his lawyers. Part of the settlement will be donated to charity.