A high school student is suing Amazon.com Inc. for deleting an e-book he purchased for the Kindle reader, saying his electronic notes were bollixed, too.
Amazon CEO Jeffrey P. Bezos has apologized to Kindle customers
for remotely removing copies of the George Orwell novels "1984"
and "Animal Farm" from their e-reader devices. The company did so
after learning the electronic editions were pirated, and it gave
buyers automatic refunds. But Amazon did it without prior notice.
The lawsuit seeking class-action status was filed Thursday in
U.S. District Court in Seattle on behalf of Justin D. Gawronski,
17, a student at Eisenhower High School in Shelby Township, Mich.,
as well as Antoine J. Bruguier, an adult reader in Milpitas, Calif.
Patty Smith, an Amazon spokeswoman, said the Seattle-based
company was aware of the filing but does not comment on pending
The case seeks unspecified damages for all buyers of e-books
that Amazon deleted from the Kindle as well as a ban on future
The lawsuit said Amazon never disclosed to customers that it
"possessed the technological ability or right to remotely delete
digital content purchased through the Kindle Store."
Bruguier complained to Amazon repeatedly after losing his copy
of "1984," appealing in vain for that or an authorized edition to
be restored to his Kindle, according to the lawsuit. "I thought
that once purchased, the books were mine," he wrote.
Gawronski told The Associated Press he was assigned "1984" for
an advanced placement course in which students must turn in
"reflections" on each 100 pages of text when they return from
summer break, then take a test. He was a quarter to halfway through
the book when it disappeared from his Kindle.
His notes on the book were "rendered useless because they no
longer referenced the relevant parts of the book," according to
Jay Edelson, a Chicago lawyer who filed the lawsuit, said in a
news release that Amazon's actions could have far-reaching
consequences if allowed to stand.
"Amazon.com had no more right to hack into people's Kindles
than its customers have the right to hack into Amazon's bank
account to recover a mistaken overpayment," Edelson said.
"Technology companies increasingly feel that because they have the
ability to access people's personal property, they have the right
to do so. That is 100 percent contrary to the laws of this
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