Amazon fended off Saturday accusations of Big Brother-like behavior after it quietly erased two George Orwell books from customers' electronic book readers this week.
From Thursday, customers on Amazon's web forums said copies of the British author's dystopian classics "Animal Farm" and "Nineteen Eighty-Four" were mysteriously wiped from their Kindle devices.
The online retailer later told CNET the books were uploaded by a publisher who did not have reproduction rights and so they were deleted.
"We removed the illegal copies from our systems and from customers' devices, and refunded customers," spokesman Drew Herdener said.
The move drew unfavorable comparisons to events in Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four", in which documents unfavorable to a fictional authoritarian government are dropped into a "memory hole," to be erased forever.
Herdener said the system would be changed so books would not be erased in future.
(c) 2009 AFP
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