Peter Kafka

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Amazon: We Won’t Delete Your Kindle Books Unless We Need to Delete Your Books

georgeorwell1984jpgAfter Amazon got caught deleting customers’ George Orwell novels from their Kindles this summer, the e-commerce giant apologized and promised never to do it again.

Except not really: Amazon actually said it wouldn’t yank books from Kindles again “in these circumstances.”

At the time, I thought that sounded like a lawyerly loophole designed to give Amazon (AMZN) some flexibility in the event that it did indeed want to remove things you bought from your e-reader. Now Amazon has removed some of that wiggle room–and not surprisingly, it’s doing so at the behest of its lawyers.

Amazon has reached a proposed settlement with a high school student who sued after his copy of “1984” disappeared (really). Part of the arrangement: A much more detailed set of rules regarding disappearing books. Here they are, via TechFlash:

Amazon will not remotely delete or modify such Works from Devices purchased and being used in the United States unless (a) the user consents to such deletion or modification; (b) the user requests a refund for the Work or otherwise fails to pay for the Work (e.g., if a credit or debit card issuer declines to remit payment); (c) a judicial or regulatory order requires such deletion or modification; or (d) deletion or modification is reasonably necessary to protect the consumer or the operation of a Device or network through which the Device communicates (e.g., to remove harmful code embedded within a copy of a Work downloaded to a Device).

That’s more like, it, right? True, if you have a real case of Orwellian paranoia, you could argue that Amazon still has the right to take your stuff from your device for any reason, while arguing that it’s a network “protection” issue, etc. But if you’re really that worried about Jeff Bezos’s grasp, you probably don’t want to buy a connected device from him, period.

The entire settlement is embedded below.