Here’s another story of Amazon malfeasance, from the Consumerist. Writer Laura Northrup tells the story of a Kindle owner named Ryan who discovered in October that he could not log onto his account, containing over $1,000 worth of e-content for his Kindle. He contacted Amazon representatives, and they explained that his account was “on hold” but they could not tell him why. Now it’s the end of November, and he still can’t access the content he paid for.

Ryan writes:

I have filed a complaint with the BBB, emailed everyone I could at Amazon, called the Customer Service Line, the Kindle "Executive" support line, and Corporate. I have been apologized to by everyone I have spoken to and been told that they have never seen this situation before.

None of them can tell me if I will ever receive the content I have paid for.

The Consumerist also links to two earlier stories of people who also lost access to their Amazon accounts for no really clear reason.

The comments on the article are also instructive: one person advises use of “Calibre, mythical drm-remover plugin, local storage.” Another writes:

Man this really scared me about my collection. So I went and checked. I opened a couple books on my shelf and they all worked as expected. Even the signed autographed editions were still present. Best part: Not one ever has a battery go bad where I cannot read it where and when I want it.

Another writes, of the Nook Color she was given by her sister who no longer wanted it:

I rooted it, installed Cyanogen Mod, and it’s a pretty badass little tablet now. I’ve got about 200 books & magazines on it, a whopping *two* of which I have actually paid for because of shit like this. I don’t MIND paying for my 2600 magazine every quarter, but this whole "we own it, you’re just borrowing it" attitude really makes me nervous.

Amazon (and others), listen up- give us DRM-free media. Let us actually save a copy of the media we purchase. I promise I’ll start paying for a lot more stuff if I’m assured that you won’t just take it back from me on a whim.

And yet content publishers continue to think piracy is thriving because people just don’t want to pay for stuff, and to think that there’s no legitimate reason for people to want to crack DRM.