A Kindle Ate His Homework

Now he’s telling it to a judge.

Last week, a high-school student filed suit against Amazon.com for pulling George Orwell books off its Kindle electronic reader, thus destroying the homework he'd already completed. Amazon deleted 1984 and Animal Farm, saying it had mistakenly sold them on Kindle without permission. CEO Jeff Bezos later apologized, conceding the screwup was "stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles." That's not good enough for 17-year-old Justin D. Gawronski, who bought 1984 for a summer homework assignment. When Amazon deleted the book from his Kindle, it "rendered the electronic notes he had taken worthless," says his Chicago attorney in a news release. The class-action suit in Seattle's U.S. District Court seeks to bar Amazon from "improperly accessing people's Kindles in the future," and asks for compensation for anyone who, like Gawronski, lost work. At least the lawsuit's a good read: "With an uncanny knack for irony," it notes, "Amazon recently remotely deleted any traces of certain electronic copies of George Orwell's '1984' and 'Animal Farm' from customers' Kindles and iPhones, thereby sending these books down Orwell's so-called 'memory hole.'"

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