One of my favorite things about football season is Gregg Easterbrook’s “Tuesday Morning Quarterback” column that runs on ESPN.com every Tuesday from today (8/18) through the Super Bowl, with a couple special edition versions that pop up during the “off season” (if such a thing even exists in the world of pro football anymore.)

One of the things about the column I mostly like (I say mostly because sometimes it get a little tedious) is non-sequitor’s into non-football related items.  Today’s first column of the season had a fantastic side piece that raises some very worthwhile questions:

TMQ has friends who like the Kindle; maybe such devices are the future. But I hope you were given pause by Amazon’s decision to delete, electronically and without notice, two Orwell books that were sold without proper rights. Needless to say, I support enforcing authors’ rights. Yet did you know Amazon has the power to delete from your Kindle anything it decides you should not read? Owners who had the books in their devices simply discovered them gone: Amazon sent a kill command. Suppose printed books — and their permanence — go out of style. Everyone’s got Kindle-like gizmos that seem really convenient. Then Big Sister or some corporate leader finds out people are downloading books revealing information the powerful don’t want the masses to know. Click click, those books disappear, and there’s no printed copy to prove they ever existed. “We did this for the public good, the books contained statements that were causing confusion,” a future CEO or U.S. President may say. Or suppose a book about some prominent person has revelations embarrassing to him — you wake up and that material has vanished, replaced with new paragraphs calling the person the most wonderful human being who ever walked. Remote wireless manipulation of book content, under the control of the wealthy and powerful — is this really the direction we want to go?

Hadn’t thought about the Amazon Deletes Content story that way had you? I admit I hadn’t…and Easterbrook raises a FANTASTIC questons here.

And, besides, it wasn’t Brett Farve related…or Michael Vick related…so for those reasons alone it was some of the best writing i’ve read in a while.

Anyway, what do you think? Has Amazon set a dangerously slippery slope here?? Or does Easterbrook just have tin foil hat on a little too tight???

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