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Amazon Selling Wikileaks Kindle e-Book

 

 

A quick heads-up.

Not sure what to make of this. Having ejected Wikileaks from their servers, Amazon.com (and probably all the rest) are selling WikiLeaks documents expose US foreign policy conspiracies as a Kindle e-book. US$9.99

The sales page and other promotional text says that no actual cable text is included and that it’s an “analysis”. Amazon ejected Wikileaks on the basis that – well, actually on the basis that they received a threat or an “recommendation” from Joe Liebermann, but – that the material was gained illegally, that Wikileaks didn’t own it and therefore had no right to disseminate it and therefore breached their Terms of Service.

There is a lot of outrage from (now ex-)Amazon customers about hypocrisy. But is it? The text of the book itself, if it is merely analysis and commentary as claimed, is rightly owned by the author. On the other hand, the author has obtained and has in his possession, the “illegal” documents (or, to put it in media-legal terms, has “made” the cable documents in order to analyse them) and so has made use of material that Amazon clearly insists was gained illegally.

IP lawyers assert that when you download someone else’s intellectual property to your computer that was originally stolen by someone else you are “making” it and are culpable. What could be the difference, in Amazon’s view, in the case of this book?

In a way it’s reminiscent of the old argument about Dr Mengele’s concentration camp experiments. If the medical “evidence” was gained through unscrupulous, inhuman, unethical and immoral means can it ethically be used as the basis for further research, or should it be banned from both public and private gaze?

One suspects Amazon doesn’t care, really. It solved a problem – political heat – pragmatically saving its arse by simply deleting the cause. At the same time it continues to do what it does best, which is to take money for stuff it sells as long as no-one is looking too hard. The point probably is that it was Amazon that made the fuss about its ToS and the legality of the Wikileaks action, it was Amazon who raised the bar high, so Amazon has to bear a much higher standard of legal-ethical-moral scrutiny.

 

 

[tags]Wikileaks, Amazon, Cables, cablegate, kindle, e-book, ebook, Mengele, WWII, medicine, experiments, concentration camp, law, legal, ethical, moral, value, values, internet, servers, cloud server, technology, Guardian, New York Times[/tags]

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