Chicago (IL) - An opportunist schoolkid, who claims his Kindle ate his homework when Amazon removed George Orwell's 1984 from the devices, is now filing a class action lawsuit against the online retailer for the loss of the notes he made on the device for a school project.
While awarding Justin Gawronski top marks for ingenuity for his excuse for not being able to produce his homework, we cannot help but feel that he will have a hard time proving he ever did the work in the first place as it has mysteriously disappeared from his Kindle. The 17 year old claims he was almost halfway through the book when Amazon pulled the plug.
He says that when Amazon deleted the novel from Kindles earlier this month, his 'copious' electronic notes became useless. Amazon has already admitted the move was a mistake.
And the student could be on shaky legal grounds as, according to the Kindle's terms of service shipped with every unit, "Amazon reserves the right to modify, suspend, or discontinue the Service at any time, and Amazon will not be liable to you should it exercise such right."
Gawronski has hired a Chicago lawyer to file the suit seeking punitive damages for those affected by the deletion and an injunction to prevent Amazon from 'improperly accessing' Kindles in the future.
The lawsuit states: "As part of his studies of '1984,' Mr. Gawronski had made copious notes in the book. After Amazon remotely deleted '1984,' those notes were rendered useless because they no longer referenced the relevant parts of the book. The notes are still accessible on the Kindle 2 device in a file separate from the deleted book, but are of no value.
"For example, a note such as 'remember this paragraph for your thesis' is useless if it does not actually a reference a specific paragraph. By deleting '1984' from Mr. Gawronski’s Kindle 2, this is the position in which Amazon left him. Mr. Gawronski now needs to recreate all of his studies.
"Although technology companies increasingly feel that because they have the ability to access people's personal property, they have the right to do so. That is 100 percent contrary to the laws of this country."
Our advice to Gawronski and others like him, is to go to a bookstore and spend 25 cents on a paperback copy of the novel and make notes in the margin with a pencil. It might not be very 21st Century, but it works and doesn't put your education at risk of interference by multinational corporations.