Kindle Nom’d My Homework?

“When I was your age, TV was called books.” –The Princess Bride

The title of this article (from MSN Money) should be “Amazon Ate My Homework.” It seems some high school student was working on a report about George Orwell’s 1984, he was reading it and taking notes on it, on his Kindle. Then, of the irony to end all irony, Amazon sent all copies of 1984 down the memory hole (from the NY Times).

It seems there was a copyright dispute over 1984 and Amazon actually wrongly sold the e-book to its Kindle users. When Amazon yanked the book off of this kid’s Kindle, it left the notes he had taken, but with no corresponding text, they are essentially useless.

Anyone that has taken a course which has, for its required reading, books which have multiple editions, understand the struggle one can take to communicate the location of specific sections to others. A quick search of Amazon shows 11 different versions of the book on the first page. All of those 11 versions are different. This kid can’t simply take the notes he has on the Kindle and “overlay” them onto another e-book version or a paperback version.

This lawsuit isn’t about a kid whining that “the dog ate his homework.” It’s a really important question in today’s world about what copyright really means. It is a vital issue that needs to be settled quickly and clearly to allow for the continued advancement of technology.

The comments on the article amuse me to no end. While some people clearly have a grasp on why this is an important issue and why some of the other commenter’s have the critical thinking skills of a turnip, some of the commenter’s are so ignorant, I don’t know how they make it through the day.

Anney on Page 1 tells us,

“I hope all universities are taking notice to not admit this lazy, self-absorbed kid. “1984” is a short read, and he could have gone to sparksnotes.com for free, but he would rather waste court time and money…and his parents went along with it. I hope the have to pay all court costs when they lose.”

Except the kid didn’t, as you suggest, cheat. He read the book. And took notes. Do you not read?

From HSB on Page 15,

“This case has no merit. I will tell you why. When you write something electronically and save it to someone else’s server they can delete it at any time without notice. This includes blogs, message boards, social networking sites, etc. So if you want to preserve what you have written you must keep a back up copy. You can do this by having a hard copy, a copy on disk, or a copy on your own hard drive. Amazon’s servers are not our own personal filing cabinets where we can keep our information and writings forever. Their servers are their own and they can delete information posted by their uses taking up space that belongs to them (Amazon, not the user) at any time. Just like any other individual or company who have servers.”

First of all, anyone that starts out “X is true and I’ll tell you why” is a tool. Secondly, I love when people talk out of their ass. The information isn’t stored on an Amazon server, it’s stored on your Kindle (Wiki). That’s why they have memory.

Janet on Page 20 apparently hates technology,

“A highschooler is complaining that a computer ate his book? Whatever happened to actually reading and turning pages while holding a genuine book in one’s hands? I would think the courts will view this as a frivolous lawsuit and suggest that the attorney should be sanctioned.”

Whatever happened to it? It’s a dying medium. Welcome to technology. Adapt.

ATB on Page 20 is apparently Sarah Palin’s speech writer,

“I’m only 40 but view this next generation really quizzically. I don’t feel I have anything in common with the hubris exhibited by them. I mean, wow, when I was irresponsible, late or just plain unlucky, my parents never let me take the easy way out. I was raised to take responsibility for myself and my circumstances. Yes, this situation is unfortunate, but if the kid had actually read the book, he could easily reconstruct his thoughts or notes. I mean, life is FULL of unexpected situations. If you spend time dwelling on the bad stuff, you’ll never discover yourself. Some of the hardest situations in life present exactly the right opportunity for you to rise to the occasion. Suing companies for your indirect problems is not exactly the way to grow. It’s a cop out- blaming someone else and expecting them to pay for it. In this case, the kid (or his parents) should get their money back for buying this “book,” the parents should call the school and explain the situation and maybe the kid could chalk this one up to knowing better for next time. But no- this is 2009. God forbid the little darling should have to deal with LIFE, right? Please.”

All he/she needs to do is throw in some references to big government and rivers in Alaska. “But if the kid actually read the book…” Uh…how can you take notes in the e-margins if you’re not reading the book? If you had actually read the article, you wouldn’t sound so fucking stupid. “Suing companies for your indirect problems…” I’d say Amazon stealing my book is a direct fucking problem.

I’m going to end on a positive note. According to (and I love this) Reading Comprehension Is A Lost Art,

“Have any of the previous commenters actually read the article? The kid, like many people his age in 2009, is comfortable with technology. Having a legitimate copy of the book on his eReader, he made notes ON THE KINDLE on parts of the book he wanted to reference for his report.

This is the same as those of us did 20 years ago in the margins of our paper books. Except Amazon has taken the “paper book” from him.When Amazon remotely wiped the book “1984” off all Kindles, he was left with his own notes, attached to no text.
So all of his legitimate hard work was null and void.

I myself prefer paper books but you people are missing the point. He has notes, he was doing his work as he should (albeit in a medium old people evidently don’t understand), and now the book has disappeared. He didn’t lose his copy of the book; Amazon took it. And they took it without advance notification. Had they even given their customers 24-hour notice, this kid could probably have transferred all of his notes to the “$4.88 copy someone else mentions in the thread. But they didn’t.

Read the article before commenting.”

Wanna get a drink sometime RCIALA?

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