Free Software Foundation calls upon Amazon to free the ebook
BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- Thursday, July 23, 2009 -- The
Free Software Foundation (FSF) welcomed the apology issued today by
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, as negative reviews from
DefectiveByDesign.org campaign supporters criticizing the Kindle's
use of proprietary software and Digital Restrictions Management
(DRM) to remotely delete ebooks continued to pour in.
In a post to the Kindle Community forum on Amazon's Web site,
This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally
sold copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle. Our "solution" to
the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with
our principles. It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the
criticism we've received. We will use the scar tissue from this
painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones
that match our mission.
With deep apology to our customers,
Founder & CEO
The FSF and Defective By Design, which on Monday called on
activists to post reviews calling attention to the Kindle Swindle's
arbitrary deletion of George Orwell ebooks from hundreds of users'
devices, welcomed Bezos's apology, but said more must be done to
remedy the problems exposed by Amazon's actions.
FSF's executive director Peter Brown explained, "Unfortunately
this matter requires more than just changing internal policy. The
real issue here is Amazon's use of DRM and proprietary software.
They have unacceptable power over users, and actual respect
necessitates more than an apology -- it requires abandoning DRM and
releasing the Kindle's software as free software."
The deletion of the Orwell ebooks was Amazon's third blatant
demonstration of the control its software provides over users. In
June, Amazon remotely deleted copies of Ayn Rand books, and prior
to that, they disabled Text-to-Speech functionality for select
titles -- a move which was a slap in the face to all users and
particularly to the visually impaired community.
FSF operations manager John Sullivan added, "Amazon has been a
positive example for Defective By Design to point to in the world
of DRM-free music. We hope that this controversy will show Amazon
that they need to take the same enlightened approach when it comes
to ebooks, so Kindle users can be confident that they won't be
### About the Free Software Foundation
The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to
promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and
redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development
and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU
operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free
documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread
awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use
of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are
an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to
support the FSF's work can be made at . Its headquarters are in
Boston, MA, USA.