UPDATE: Engadget heard from Drew Herdener, Amazon.com's Director of Communications:

These books were added to our catalog using our self-service platform by a third-party who did not have the rights to the books. When we were notified of this by the rights holder, we removed the illegal copies from our systems and from customers' devices, and refunded customers. We are changing our systems so that in the future we will not remove books from customers' devices in these circumstances.

Good on them for coming clean and changing the policy going forward. Though it would have been nice to have the candor and insight up-front

ORIGINAL: According to Engadget, Amazon has remotely wiped copies of George Orwell's classics, 1984 and Animal Farm from Kindles, refunding the purchase price of affected users.

We're not yet certain, but users of the iPhone Kindle app are probably similarly effected.

It remains unlikely that Amazon broke into any houses, repossessed any copies of same, and left change on the bureau.

By contrast, when Apple removed NetShare from the App Store, already purchased copies remained -- and remain to this day -- on the devices of whomever purchased them.

Takes a lot of wrong to make App Store policy seem right these days, so way to go, Amazon. You've either redefined ownership in the DRM age, or broken faith with any customers thinking of owning any more Kindle content...