Zamyatin’s tangible threat that 2+2=4 [yikes]


Originally @ S-is-For-Somewhere

I’m admittedly biased against DRM-locked digitized books and audio, and so when it was announced that Amazon–which, otherwise, I like a ton–axed copies of 1984 from owners’ kindles, I was less at odds with the particular action than what it meant & symbolized regarding threats to ownership and autonomy in the digital culture.

Skim “Why 2024 Will Be like Nineteen Eighty-Four: How Amazon’s remote deletion of e-books from the Kindle paves the way for book-banning’s digital future” published @ Slate.

Amazon deleted books that were already available in print, but in our paperless future—when all books exist as files on servers—courts would have the power to make works vanish completely. Zittrain writes: “Imagine a world in which all copies of once-censored books like CandideThe Call of the Wild, and Ulysseshad been permanently destroyed at the time of the censoring and could not be studied or enjoyed after subsequent decision-makers lifted the ban.” This may sound like an exaggeration; after all, we’ll surely always have file-sharing networks and other online repositories for works that have been decreed illegal. But it seems like small comfort to rely on BitTorrent to save banned art. The anonymous underground movements that have long sustained banned works will be a lot harder to keep up in the world of the Kindle and the iPhone.


One response »

  1. This reminds me of a scene in an old “Elseworlds” Superman Annual. Superman: The Man of Steel Annual #3 to be exact.
    In the story, Superman is merely another Kryptonian who fled from Krypton before it exploded. The population settled on earth, and the subsequent superpowers which that population developed (and their superior technology) allowed the Kryptonians to rule over humanity. The Kryptonians are very xenophobic and view humans as an inferior species. Despite this, they are very scientific and store most all data in a computer grid.
    The real turning point of the story is when Batman (who is a dedicated underground fighter) finds some old construction blueprints in paper form. He comments that the paper records are real, and served as a testament to human kind, as contrasted with the technology loving Kryptonians who saw no use for such relics. The records allowed him to circumvent the Kryptonian computer systems and helped the resistance movement succeed in freeing the planet.

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