So, do you own the ebook you just bought? Probably not.
What do you really own when it comes to technology? Well, from this story about a Kindle owner having her Kindle wiped clean by Amazon, and her account closed, it would seem the answer is very little.
The disturbing part of the story is that so far Amazon has yet to explain why this was done, other than that it was for as yet unspecified violations to its terms of service.
Obviously, though, this example makes it perfectly clear that when you buy an ebook from Amazon, you don’t really buy it. You borrow it. I just did a check to make sure, and yes, when you select an ebook from the Amazon Kindle Store it says, ‘Buy Now With 1-Click’. Well, that can’t be true. Anything that can be taken back without warning is not really bought, is it?
I don’t want to go into the ins and outs of this particular case of a wiped Kindle, but it does make one wonder about what we own and what we don’t own when it comes to technology. I have two iPads and use one for work and one at home. Could they be wiped remotely if I unwittingly break Apple’s Terms of Service? Perhaps this could be the case with programs I have purchased for my laptop.
The most telling line in this agreement is this one:
Changes to Service. We may modify, suspend, or discontinue the Service, in whole or in part, at any time.
So have fun reading your ‘borrowed’ Kindle ebooks. While Amazon let you. I’m off to grab my ‘fully owned’ paperback copy of Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. It’s a bit tattered, but it’s mine!