Amazon Selling WikiLeaks Cables as eBook

Update: The eBook is no longer for sale on Amazon’s site, but Amazon insists they didn’t remove it. Rather, the author removed the book himself.

Already with enough egg on its face to endanger a species of birds, Amazon.com’s WikiLeaks headaches don’t appear to be going away. Having ousted the whistleblower’s website from their web hosting service under Sen. Joe Lieberman’s orders, Amazon has now taken to publishing the same cables it was insisting just a week ago were cause for termination.

Amazon's Jeff Bezos can enjoy WikiLeaks on his Kindle nowStrange but true, Amazon’s UK website, Amazon.co.uk, began selling an eBook for its Kindle eReader that includes copious excerpts of the diplomatic cables along with the author’s analysis. The eBook is, according to the website, available only in the UK.

Bizarrely, Amazon had just gotten done claiming that since WikiLeaks “doesn’t own or otherwise control all the rights to this classified content” they had no right to publish it online. Technically speaking this is not true because US government content cannot be copyrighted to begin with and automatically defaults to the public domain, but the claim seems doubly hypocritical now that they are selling a clear “derivative work” of the WikiLeaks cables on their site.

Antiwar.com launched a boycott against Amazon last week to protest its ouster of the WikiLeaks website, and removed all advertisements for the retailer from the site. Amazon has denied that Sen. Lieberman’s order to remove the site had anything to do with them removing it just hours later, but maintains it was a decision based on their own objections to WikiLeaks’ content.

9 thoughts on “Amazon Selling WikiLeaks Cables as eBook”

  1. "Amazon Selling WikiLeaks Cables as eBook"

    What a shameless bunch of hypocrites!

    Antiwar – can you publish a list of suitable alternatives to Amazon for the run up to Christmas? I suspect that would get Amazon's attention.

    In fact, spend a little time organising a statement of support for Wikileaks, or just a commitment to resist state pressure on with whom they do business, that businesses could sign up to in return for promotion within the pro-Wikileaks community.

    These guys (Amazon, Paypal, etc) are just assuming it will all blow over and most of any lost busines will drift back to them in the end. They need to be disabused of that notion.

  2. This just highlights the central issue that in a democracy we need to make choices and for those choices we need information. Allowing the ruling parties, whoever they are left or right wing, exclusive power to censor information allows them to manipulate information for their benefit so killing democracy. All societies should have laws protecting whistle blowers.

    This case also has a personal side to do with the fate of Julian Assange. See http://www.deathtoglamour.com/cat/3-blogs/article

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