You Don't Own What You've Bought: Apple Disappears Purchased Movies

from the bad-apple dept

Once again, copyright and the digitization of everything means you no longer "own" what you've "bought." I thought we'd covered all this a decade ago when Kindle owners discovered that, even though they'd "purchased" copies of the ebook of George Orwell's 1984, their books had been memory holed, thanks to Amazon losing a license. After there was an uproar, Amazon changed its system and promised such things would never happen again. You would think that other online stores selling digital items would remember this and design their systems not to do this -- especially some of the largest.

Enter Apple and its infamous iTunes store. On Twitter, Anders G da Silva has posted a thread detailing how three of the movies he "purchased" have now disappeared and how little Apple seems to care about this:

My guess is that with this tweet getting lots and lots of attention, Apple will eventually back down and "fix" the situation. But it shouldn't take going viral for you to not have the stuff you bought disappear thanks to a change in licensing. Indeed, it does seem like Apple telling users that they are "buying" content that might later disappear due to changes in licensing agreements could potentially be a deceptive practice that could lead to FTC or possibly state consumer protection claims:

Last year we had a podcast about a new book by two copyright professors about the "end of ownership" due to excessive copyright usage, and this is just yet another unfortunate example of what has happened when we lock everything up. You don't own what you've bought.

And, yes, it is not endorsing or advocating for piracy to note that this is one of the reasons why people pirate. Content that people pirate doesn't magically disappear when licenses change and giant multinational companies decide to reach into your library and memory hole your purchases. Don't want people to pirate so much? Stop doing this kind of anti-consumer bullshit.


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2018 @ 5:52pm

    Re: Speaking of Amazon...

    Ok, the dude actively promotes rape. That is misogynist by anyone's definition, left or right.

    Secondly, Amazon didn't ban the books, they just refused to continue selling them. You can still get them elsewhere and the people who bought them can still read them. Amazon just isn't selling new copies.

    This is completely different from the iTunes debacle where Apple didn't just stop selling new copies, they forced everyone to give back the copies they had already bought and paid for.

    Finally, if you are going to defend Alex Jones then you can shove off. The man is a disgusting con artist who preys on people's fears and insecurities and promotes absolutely vile and blatantly false conspiracy theories. He violated all those sites' terms of service, multiple times, was given multiple warning and chances to knock it off and he didn't. I have no sympathy for him and to him I say goodbye and good riddance.

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