Amazon Web Services issued a statement explaining why they dropped WikiLeaks from their servers, saying "It’s clear that WikiLeaks doesn’t own or otherwise control all the rights to this classified content." Boing Boing points out that making it a copyright issue is probably not the smartest thing in the world:
Does this add up? Amazon just happened to take an interest in the intellectual property status of government documents after being called by the same U.S. Senator who another company reports was explicitly demanding the removal of Wikileaks material? A Senator who was able to make a public statement about Amazon's removal of the material, as the removal occurred?
Doesn't this affect Kindle editions of everyone who has run some of this content? Aren't a significant number of books at Amazon also in violation of this rights problem with 'state secrets'?
If a major publisher runs a book containing text from the cables, will Amazon let them sell it?
This whole WikiLeaks thing further muddies the waters for Amazon: After the recent pedophilia book scandal and now with WikiLeaks, where will they take a stand? The lines are only getting fuzzier. Will they fold to any amount of public or government pressure? They need to issue a brief, clear statement on their information policies so consumers know where they stand with Amazon. If they're not going to fight for their customers' rights, their customers need to know that.
One of the values that many bookstores espoused during the Patriot Act era was that they would not share information about their customers' book purchases with government agencies. Likewise, Qwest made a point of not bowing to government pressure. Will Amazon just cave to any hint of disapproval? I'm seriously asking: What are Amazon's values? As a company that's responsible for sharing massive amounts of information, this is an important question.