"Control At A Distance" is a very interesting article over at Balkinization about Amazon.com using the internet to delete copies of George Orwell's books 1984 and Animal Farm from various people's Kindles after learning that the publisher did not want to grant the rights to Kindle. Jack Balkin cleverly points out that "the irony of deleting a book about Big Brother watching you was lost on both the publisher and Amazon.com." He also makes the following commentary:
"For centuries, we have understood, or rather believed, that owning books came with certain rights, including the right to keep what we purchase and to use it, mark it up, and sell it in any way we like. We were free to purchase books and keep them in our homes, without telling anybody what we were reading, or indeed, what page we had last looked at. Amazon's Kindle system upends all of these expectations. Amazon knows what books you have on your Kindle, and, in theory, it can even know the book you are currently reading, and even the last page you've read on each of the books you own. It can delete books, add books, or modify books, all without your permission. It can change features of the Kindle at will. In upending our assumptions about our freedoms to read books in private and use them as we see fit, Amazon threatens many of the basic freedoms to read we have come to expect in a physical world. If we want to preserve these freedoms, we will have to reform copyright law and privacy law to control the new intermediaries who can control us at a distance."