One story that generated a lot of talk last week was one about an unsuspecting iTunes customer who discovered that his movie purchases had disappeared from his library. This lead to larger discussion and debate about the issue of digital media content and its ownership – and how said ownership is really buying a license for an extended rental which can be revoked at any time.
The issue is iTunes, like Amazon, Steam and many other digital services, only license certain content and so when their license runs out – even the purchased content you own will disappear from your library unless you have already downloaded it. Trouble is you won’t be able to download it again should you lose whatever gadget or drive you downloaded it to.
Five days on, Apple has issued a response to the story (via Forbes saying:
“Any movies you’ve already downloaded can be enjoyed at any time and will not be deleted unless you’ve chosen to do so. If you change your country setting, some movies may not be available to re-download from the movie store if the version you purchased isn’t also available in the new country. If needed, you can change your country setting back to your prior country to re-download those movies.”
The latter part of the quote refers back to the original user who emigrated from Australia to Canada, which is partly how he lost three Apple digital purchases. The response doesn’t take into account other issues with downloading, such as the lack of ability to download 4K and HDR movies, those with large digital film libraries who can only download a handful of titles, or the fact that users are often left unaware as to which titles are set to be pulled until after they’ve already been removed.