In July 2009, Amazon decided to remove some content from thousands of Kindles. They removed every copy of George Orwell’s 1984, including the notes high school student Justin Gawronski’s had taken for his summer assignment.
Amazon deleted two books by Orwell, 1984 and Animal Farm, from their inventory when the publishing company decided they did not want their books to be electronically available. In addition to just removing the books from being able to be purchased, Amazon deleted those books from the Kindles of users who had already purchased the books. In this process, they also deleted any notes or comments that users had made in their personal Kindles about the book that they had purchased.
Some have called Amazon the homework-eating-dog of the 21st century. Gawronski decided to sue Amazon for destroying his homework. And on October 1, 2009, he won. He won big, earning $150,000 in the lawsuit.
The settlement in the case declared:
“Amazon will not remotely delete or modify such Works from Devices purchased and being used in the United States unless (a) the user consents to such deletion or modification; (b) the user requests a refund for the Work or otherwise fails to pay for the Work; (c) a judicial or regulatory order requires such deletion or modification; or (d) deletion or modification is reasonably necessary to protect the consumer or the operation of a Device of network through which the Device communicates (e.g., to remove harmful code embedded within a copy of a Work downloaded to a Device).”
This is important because it will protect all future downloads for Kindle. So, if your teacher recommends getting the book on Kindle instead of purchasing a book and killing the rainforest, you can rest assured: Amazon will either leave your books and notes alone, or you could win $150,000. Personally, I’d rather have the $150,000, but that’s just me.