Amazon has recently started banning books the giant sees as promoting hate speech, and doing this in an untransparent manner, apparently believing it cannot be legally challenged on this policy.
But a law in force in Seattle might actually provide legal recourse to those who believe they have been wronged by Amazon’s censorship, reports suggest.
Critics say that Amazon introduced new rules allowing it to remove books from its store in order to pander to cancel culture activists and pressure groups, with two recent literary casualties dealing with the issue of transgenderism in a critical manner.
Amazon – as do others in the Big Tech club – wants to be seen as a private business like any other than can decide what to sell. But like much of Big Tech, Amazon’s actual status is dangerously close to that of a monopoly, currently dominating 83 percent of the book market.
As observers note, this means not only that existing books can be booted from the platform, seriously undermining their authors’ ability to reach an audience – in addition, publishers might start refusing to publish books they think Amazon will refuse to carry.
While implications of the behemoth’s actions are ethical as well as legal, and many authors and publishers have tried bringing up the issue before US antitrust authorities, there doesn’t seem to be much anyone can do at this time to protect themselves from Amazon’s behavior, including censorship of books.
But recently, Discovery Institute’s political analyst John West told NTD-TV that Seattle – where the giant is headquartered – has a fairly unique law that prohibits discrimination based on political ideology. Not many other places in the US have similar legislation, West said, adding that it is part of the civil rights laws.
He has no doubt that anyone discriminated on political ideology grounds can sue Amazon, without needing to be a Seattle or Washington state resident.
What plaintiffs can hope to achieve is win punitive damages and attorney fees, as well as be granted injunctions, West said.
As for how everyone can try to bypass Amazon and hold it accountable, the company’s critics advise buying directly from publishers and supporting antitrust investigations.