Amazon's Orwell deletion garners a lawsuit

A Michigan teen has filed suit in Seattle against Amazon, maker of the Kindle eReader, for deleting a copy of 1984 on which he was keeping notes for his AP English coursework. Justin Gawronski is suing in order to impress on Amazon the importance of not simply deleting purchased texts -- whatever their copyright or licensing status.

The suit, which seeks class-action status for those affected by the deletion several weeks ago, also names Antoine J. Bruguier, a Kindle owner from Milpitas, California. KamberEdelson is the Chicago-based legal team handling the suit.

Readers who purchased the disputed copies of Animal Farm and 1984 were given refunds by Amazon, and after several days of outrage they also got an apology from CEO Jeff Bezos, who called his company's handling of the problem "stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles."

But apologies don't feed the bulldog -- or, in this case, Mr. Gawronski's teacher, who's expecting multiple written reports on the text from students. Mr. Gawronski had been reading and, as he went along, dropping a note into the text where something caught his eye. His notes were not deleted, but with the text to which they referred gone, they're not particularly useful now.

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