from the don't-hit-the-nuke-button dept
In cases where your security is at risk, or where we're required to do so for legal reasons, you may not be able to run apps or access content that you previously acquired or purchased a license for.This is probably nothing new to users of the Amazon Kindle who had their copies of the book 1984 remotely deleted or to people who bought music from Rhapsody who had their DRM'ed tracks reduced to nothing over night. Nor is this unique to these businesses. As PC World also notes, both Apple and Google retain the right to remove software users of their devices "bought". Businesses have been calling to question the ownership of digital products for quite some time. If we cannot prevent the loss of legally purchased products from those which sold these products to us, how can we really claim ownership?
If it is any consolation to you, Microsoft has told PC Mag that it will refund buyers of apps it deletes. However, any data you may have saved using the app will be completely lost. So not even the work that you put into this software is yours to claim ownership.
While Microsoft claims that it will primarily remove software in the case of security violations, it also retains this power for cases of "legal or contractual requirements." This is quite the broad opening left here. With the looming threat of increased enforcement of Copyright through SOPA and PIPA, the idea that an app can be removed via a "legal requirement" creates yet another question over ownership. If an app we purchase ends up infringing some company's copyright, patent or trademark, they could theoretically use that as a tool to remove that app from our devices.
We are moving further and further into a digital landscape for everything from movies, music, books, games and software. With this transition, companies that produce these products are working overtime to remind consumers that they are not owners of these products but merely licensees. We will not have the luxury of physical media on which we can claim ownership rights for much longer. Consumers for the last few years have been clamoring for more digital content. They have been the primary drivers of this transition. The only real question left is, do they realize the consequences that come with this change, and will they demand the right to claim ownership?