Amazon settles Kindle lawsuit over "1984" copy

SAN FRANCISCO Fri Oct 2, 2009 3:58pm EDT

1 of 2. A man holds a Kindle DX electronic reader at a news conference in New York May 6, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Eric Thayer

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc has settled for $150,000 a lawsuit brought by a high school student and another consumer who claimed the online retailer illegally deleted from their Kindle devices digital copies of George Orwell's "1984."

The settlement, filed September 25, revealed that Amazon in September offered consumers whose books had been deleted a new free digital copy as well as $30.

The lawsuit was initially filed in July in U.S. District Court in Seattle and sought class-action status. It claimed Amazon did not have the right to delete digital content that had been purchased by consumers for use on their Kindles, the electronic reading devices made by Amazon.

This summer, Amazon acknowledged it deleted certain purchased e-books from the Kindles of some of its customers after learning that a third party who had posted the books did not have the legal rights to do so.

The reimbursement made it unlikely for a judge to certify a class-action, the plaintiffs said in the settlement.

Under terms of the settlement, Amazon will not delete such works unless the consumer agrees, unless a refund is requested or unless the work contains some harmful embedded code that would hurt operation of the Kindle.

Seattle-based Amazon will pay the plaintiffs' lawyers a fee of $150,000 to be donated to "a charitable organization that promotes literacy, children's issues, secondary or post- secondary education, health or job placement," according to the settlement.

(Reporting by Alexandria Sage; editing by Andre Grenon)

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