One of the problems with digital media is digital rights management. Consumers and huge corporations have already had this fight over music, and, as anybody who downloaded a song today can tell you, not even billions of dollars in lawsuits and whining could ultimately turn the tide. Today you buy a song, and you own it. Not so, however, other types of digital media. That is still technically “licensed.”
A Norwegian woman named Linn has recently learned this the hard way. Due to what seems to be an error on Amazon’s part, her Kindle has been completely wiped, her Amazon account has been closed, and she has no recourse. In fact, Amazon won’t even tell her why this happened.
Apparently, Amazon has decided that Linn’s account was tied to another account that they banned, according to tech blogger Martin Bekkelund. Here’s the letter they sent her for “clarification”:
Dear Linn [last name],
As previously advised, your Amazon.co.uk account has been closed, as it has come to our attention that this account is related to a previously blocked account. While we are unable to provide detailed information on how we link related accounts, please know that we have reviewed your account on the basis of the information provided and regret to inform you that it will not be reopened.
Please understand that the closure of an account is a permanent action. Any subsequent accounts that are opened will be closed as well. Thank you for your understanding with our decision.
I appreciate this is not the outcome you hoped for and apologise for any disappointment this may cause.
Executive Customer Relations
Now, at this point, anybody with two working brain cells can put this one together: Linn got hacked. It’s an annoying reality of being on the Internet. Some tool linked his account to hers to jack her credit card numbers or otherwise misbehave on Amazon’s site, and instead got shut down. When she asked for details, Amazon said that…
Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer any additional insight or action on these matters.
Really, Amazon? You’re not able to explain why you did something of your own volition?
Gizmodo followed up and was told that she at least should not have had her Kindle wiped. But that’s not really a good explanation. In short, Amazon needs to dump its DRM policy. But until it does, you probably should just buy an actual book: After all, it’s probably cheaper.
UPDATE: Unsurprisingly, the Internet has gotten Linn’s books back. Her account is fully restored, as well.
Still missing? Why this happened in the first place.