A few weeks ago, Amazon started selling the collected works of George Orwell online for the Kindle. It cost $5 and was bought by Cory Doctorow
, amongst others.
There is one delicious irony in each sentence in the paragraph above, given what occured next.
It appears that the collection was published by a firm which specialise in packaging up out of copyright books for new formats. A firm that operates in a country where Orwell's works are out of copyright. However, they were sold in the US, where his works aren't, and won't be until 2025 (assuming the current Life+75 doesn't get extended by Disney again to protect their ownership of Micky Mouse ...)
The controllers of Orwell's estate complained, and rather than negotiate, Amazon simply stopped selling the package.
Fair enough? Well, despite what I may think about the current copyright system, that's not an unreasonable way for Amazon to act. Nor is it particularly ironic.
The first delicious irony is that Amazon customers who had bought the collected work of George Orwell, including of course Big Brother
, (E2A: Binidj rightly points out that Orwell wrote 1984
- mea culpa) found that the next time they synched their Kindle with Amazon, the collection became an un-book. Amazon reached into the Kindles of their customers and deleted the collection from the machine, offering nothing except a refund of the $5. The collected works of George Orwell were deleted without a trace by a central controlling agency.
Double plus ungood.
The second delicious irony?Cory Doctorow
If you don't know who he is; he's one of the most prolific activists for rewriting our approach to copyright. He's a big supporter of Creative Commons. He's one of the two main people behind BoingBoing.net.
He's featured in XKCD. He's even written a novel, Little Brother
, about surveillance and sousveillance which you can download for free and read on whatever device you'd like.
As a work colleague just pointed out; if I were to write a script that deleted Big Brother
from everyone's Kindle, I'd probably get it to avoid Cory Doctorow's, just in case he didn't notice.
This one should be fun to watch.