The Kindle is catnip for many new e-book fans . But face it, Amazon at its worst can be a mean, bossy company—as shown by a greedy insistence on a new Kindle format. Not to mention its being able to snoop inside your K machine to see if you’re a good boy complying with the terms of service.
That’s right. When I accessed kindlenews.info just now, I was redirected to e-BOOKVine.com. The redirect page said, “Due to trademark issues with kindle, we can’t run this webside with our domain name anymore.” See screenshot of the notice. Image above is of the site as hosted on Blogspot on Nov. 25—the Google cache shows only the redirect.
I don’t know the details and will be querying the New Zealand-based Humayun Kabir—whose work in edited form appears in the TeleBlog, with his permission—to see what happened and to obtain a copy of any possible correspondence. Was it fear of Amazon or an actual threat? Or was a rival Kindle news site responsible for the change? Probably not.
If Amazon’s to blame, were Jeff’s people genuinely worried that an independent Web site would be confused with the service through which Kindle users can receive newspaper and magazine stories? If so, why couldn’t Humayan have used something like “Kindle Journal: Independent News for Kindle Users”? I intend to get Amazon’s side, too, if it indeed forced the change. I’d also like some thoughts from a knowledgeable lawyer.
Ugly freedom of the press issues?
The trademark crackdown might raise some ugly questions if Amazon is involved and actually sent Humayun a letter. If Amazon is the culprit—we don’t know the full facts—what will it do about sites such as Kindleville or books with the name Kindle in them? Will it make trademark threats only against uppity sites such as Humayun’s? And what does this say about Amazon and freedom of the press? Should the publishing world trust this kind of company to lord it over e-bookdom? Jeff, if you and your people are the villains, how about backing off? Humayun should enjoy the freedom to report on the Kindle—within the bounds of accuracy and fairness—as he sees fit! Coincidentally or not, most likely not, Kabir has just run a summary of Richard Stallman’s thoughts on DRMed books and restrictive copyright laws (not the same as trademark, of course).
Meanwhile, below, I’ll reproduce Amazon’s trademark on the word “Kindle.” Type the word Kindle into the U.S. trademark database and you’ll also see other Amazon-related entries, such as “AmazonKindle.”
Goods and Services
IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: Portable electronic device for receiving and reading text and images and sound through wireless Internet access and for displaying electronically published materials, namely, books, journals, newspapers, magazines, multimedia presentations; computer hardware and software in the field of text, image and sound transmission and display
IC 038. US 100 101 104. G & S: Transmission of text, images and sound through a portable electronic device
IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Providing information in the field of electronic publishing in all forms, via a global computer information network
Standard Characters Claimed
Mark Drawing Code
(4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK
May 2, 2006
Current Filing Basis
Original Filing Basis
Published for Opposition
June 12, 2007
(APPLICANT) AMAZON TECHNOLOGIES, INC. CORPORATION NEVADA PO BOX 8102 ATTN: TRADEMARKS RENO NEVADA 89507
Attorney of Record
Leslie C. Ruiter
Type of Mark
TRADEMARK. SERVICE MARK