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. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Sep 2018 @ 1:52pm

    I'm sure these terms are clearly spelled out in the EULA on page 400 well after the don't use our product to make war.

    While plastic discs aren't trendy anymore, at least studios are sending ICE in to raid people's homes to remove discs the publisher's contract ended for.

    They keep playing with the meanings of words and the only loser is the paying customers. Magically they can't seem to understand why people paying them the full price don't enjoy finding out later there is a contract that didn't involve them & no one told them the terms of when they paid that allows the content to vanish & maybe we'll let you have a rental if you complain enough.

    They scream how we have no respect for copyright...
    Empty public domain...
    Limitations on the use of products we 'purchase'...
    Vanishing content b/c they could get a better deal with diff distributor & you can just buy it again...

    Once upon a time didn't Amazon end up with a hassle when they pulled a holiday movie from peoples libraries b/c the owner wanted to drive sales & so it was removed from prime free viewing & from people who thought they owned a copy?

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