No movies for you…


Interesting, if you buy movies from Apple (and I assume from other online sources), you don’t actually buy the movies, just the right at the time of purchase to download a copy of the movie.

If Apple (or any other online store) don’t renew the rights to the films you have purchased, the films you thought you had purchased, will be removed from your library…

To apease the customer for removing his movies without refunding, they offered him 2 movie rentals to compensate for the lost films. No refund is possible.

Apple notes – again, buried in its terms and conditions: “It is your responsibility not to lose, destroy, or damage Content once downloaded. We encourage you to back up your Content regularly.”

Comments (28)

28 responses to “No movies for you…”

  1. jprestig

    This has been a thing for quite some time. I have yet to be a victim of it with iTunes, but if I was I would be very upset if they didn't give me a full refund. I have had this happen with Amazon in the past, and was immediately refunded.

    This is the danger of the digital world. But yet, I still buy 99% digital.

  2. Daekar

    This is why I buy physical media and make my own rips. My content is mine, thank you very much, and I'll use it and share it however I damn well please. Of course, I haven't bought a DVD or Blueray in a month of Mondays, so it's only the occasional small-time musical artist that we buy CDs for.

    The upside of doing it this way is that you aren't beholden to specific file formats, hardware, or anything. I have rips and mp3s that are from back when the very first iPod came out, and I will never need to rebuy them. Fortunate for me, because some of them you can't get now.

    • provision l-3

      In reply to Daekar:

      I get where you are coming from and there is an obvious advantage to physical media as it also serves as a back up. The challenges is that not everything comes out on physical media these days. I have no shortage of music the was a digital only release.

      • Daekar

        In reply to provision l-3:

        Good point. And to be clear, I use the free tier of Spotify too. We buy music we need to have direct control over (for dancing) and those special things that we want to make sure we have access to many years in the future. If I have to buy digital-only stuff, I always verify that there isn't DRM that's hobbling it. Call me paranoid, but having a few albums that are locked to authenticated devices and apps really burned my biscuits.

  3. provision l-3

    I get that follow up on stories like this is rarely sexy especially when they don't back up the original sensational headlines. But for anyone that cares, it turns out Apple didn't remove the customers movies. The customer was logged into a different counties iTunes Store and simply couldn't see the purchase made in a different location. Certainly irritating and confusing but the claim that something was removed is factually incorrect.

  4. jimchamplin

    It's cute that you think this is limited to Apple.

    Part of the BluRay proposed standard involved the ability for studios to sabotage physical copies. Maybe it's still there, who knows!?

    It's apparently SUPER IMPORTANT to businessmen that these licenses get enforced after purchase.

    Remember, none of this actually matters to the majority of directors and actors and production staff and SFX crew...

    Only the crooked lawyers that run the corporations that dole it out.

  5. infloop

    It has been the case as far as I can remember that the movie studios in the US, for example, have always done it this way: you are only buying a license to view or download the content. They always have Digital Rights Management on them when you get them from the online stores like iTunes. And to be fair to Apple, I recall seeing them always state what you had quoted and ones similar to that in their support articles relating to the iTunes Store and purchases. However, hrlngrv makes a good point about media that is locked with DRM.

    I am sure some of us here have experienced this issue of content no longer being available when Microsoft was slowly starting to phase out Groove Music. I recall Mary Jo stating in an episode of Windows Weekly that some of her music disappeared from her library. For me, I have experienced this twice, although both times it did not bother me much due to my downloaded/local copies: once when a publisher was negotiating with Apple so during this time their music was no longer on the iTunes Store and available for streaming, and more recently with a different publisher that removed an album from iTunes and Apple Music for several days and later re-released the complete album.

    I still buy CDs whenever I can so that I can create lossless rips and do the transcoding necessary to get it on my devices (or if digital I make a purchase), so I don't need to rely on an Internet connection to use, and so I can avoid this problem. However, I only do so for music that I really like, and as such I do not have an enormous collection. And I am well aware that I am in the minority in doing this in the streaming and subscriptions world that is today. To each their own.

  6. hrlngrv

    Thus the risk one takes buying licenses to content sold by intermediaries rather than directly from the IP rights holder.

    If you backup the copy of the movie to read-only media, e.g., DVDs, could such movies be deleted? Then again, if there's any IP rights management in play, and one no longer has permission to view the movie, it might as well be deleted.

  7. Andy Babiec

    Note that when Xbox digital games (360 and one) are delisted and removed from the store, existing owners can continue to download and access these games.

    Why Apple couldn't do the same baffles me.

    • robincapper

      In reply to ababiec:

      Microsoft could not do this with music. When they shut their store down, and instructed people to download 'their purchases', some tracks on whole album titles I had purchased were not available to download. They initially claimed the artist/publisher had withdrawn them but I got direct info from both they had not.

      It was an interesting 'battle', ultimately msft issued a cash credit for the missing content

    • lvthunder

      In reply to ababiec:

      The contracts are written differently between the movie industry and the gaming industry. It's a lot easier for Microsoft to get that in there when going through them is the only way to get an XBox game to market.

  8. ErichK

    I kind of do a mixture of digital/physical.

    I'll buy some music digitally, but stuff I *really* like, say, from some of my favorite bands, I buy the CD because I want a physical copy and I also rip it to my collection.

    And DVDs ... seems like sometimes they're really cheap. I bought Bullitt on DVD because it was only five bucks or something like that.

  9. Paul Thurrott

    So I heard from this individual as well.

    I'll just point out that stories like this are not exactly rampant. And that this is the first time I've even heard of this happening.

    So I guess we can take the Chicken Little stance. Or just acknowledge that you were more likely to render a DVD inoperable by scratching it than have this happen and get on with life.

    More pragmatically, maybe we just need to get over our need to "own" things and do the real math on what it means to subscribe to services vs. buy stuff. I suspect it's like many things. It never really makes sense to buy.

    • red.radar

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      At this moment I prefer to own... but my tastes have matured and I am not in a content discovery phase.


      When you consider the obsolence issues of the hardware that plays the content, we are always renting it....

      Big Plus for apple owners when we got 4k for free.

      For me its a business model preference. To get access to the content I like, I have to subscribe to multiple streaming services. I don't consume content that regularly enough to warrant the monthly reoccurring cost. so its more convenient for me to just get a perpetual license

    • Jeffery Commaroto

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      A few years ago I decided to go all digital with everything and get rid of the very large library of books, text books, CD's, DVD's, comic books, games etc purchased/inherited throughout life.

      When it came time to sell at garage sales and online I was given a fine lesson in supply and demand. Almost all of it was worthless. I lament the amount of money I had sunk into media over the years. The idea that I needed to "own" something just in case I ever wanted to return to it someday was a pretty bad premise to get started on.

      What I couldn't sell I donated. Honestly most places I looked have so much of this physical media coming in they won't take it.

      What I couldn't donate I simply threw out.

    • lvthunder

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      With movies though there are quite a few that aren't on any service you can subscribe to. Personally I like to have the physical copies because it allows me to watch without needing an internet connection. I have a cabin in the mountains and the internet is not as robust as it is in the city. Plus I happen to think internet access is eventually going to end up like utilities. You pay per what you use. Plus anymore most movies come with a digital copy so I get the best of both worlds. I don't buy a lot of movies so space really isn't that much of an issue. And who knows maybe I'm just old school. I'm the only one at work who still gets a paper pay check. Everyone else does direct deposit. I like to pay with cash and don't like signing up for a bunch of reward programs.

      • Daekar

        In reply to lvthunder:

        Your first point is really the thing that has made the subscription services unpalatable to me. In a world where I should be able to access literally every film ever made, the subset actually available is very small. They will probably never have the films I'm interested in, and if they do it's likely they'll rotate through and be gone. Given that my wife and I really only watch a small number of movies and those infrequently, subscribing to a film service makes zero sense for us.

      • ErichK

        In reply to lvthunder:

        Every red-blooded American has 50 credit cards... ;-)

    • wright_is

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      It happened at Amazon a while back as well, ironically with the book "1984" from George Orwell disappearing from Kindles. Some films have also disappeared from Amazon over the years.

      I know they aren't rampant. The point is, you should make local backups of all of your bought music and video, if you want to keep it.

      The problem I have with that is that most people don't have a few terrabytes of backed up storage in their homes.

      As to the DVD argument, you are correct, you can damage them as well, although I have over 2,000 DVDs and have only had one rendered unwatchable over the years. But, again, that was under my "control", I scratched it, the retailer didn't come into my house and scratch it for me.

      As you say, renting / subscribing is probably a better way forward in the cloud age. I gave up buying media a long time ago. I think the last DVD/Blu-Ray I bought was in around 2011/2012 and the last CD was 2007. I haven't bought any music or video online. But I don't rent and I don't subscribe to any music or video services.

      The one exception is Audible...

      • ivarh

        In reply to wright_is:

        Audibles DRM has been cracked and you can now buy a program that actually decrypts the files in second rather than plays them recording the output to remove the DRM. I have done this on all my >200 books from audible and I these days have created a podcast feed that I subscribe to in pocketcasts where the files are stored on a webserver at home. I can only access the files while at home or vpn'ed home so even though my rss feed is public no one but me can access the actual audiobooks. I have not shared any of these books with other people and the only reason I remove the DRM is to protect my own access to my own audiobooks that I have paid for and to be able to play them back using any podcast player.

      • Daekar

        In reply to wright_is:

        Yes, Audible is probably the best investment of money I make every month outside my mortgage...

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