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Apple (and everyone else) can delete your digital purchases at any time

Let’s go back to buying DVDs.

itunes movie purchases removed
Image: Unsplash

When you visit the iTunes movie store and buy something, you might think it’s yours to keep forever. Unfortunately, it’s not and here’s the reason why according to The Outline.

If you own a movie that’s store on iCloud and Apple loses the rights to distribute it, the title will no longer show up in your library. And yes, this little nugget of information is included in the iTunes Store’s Terms of Service, which says:

You may be able to redownload previously acquired Content (“Redownload”) to your devices that are signed in with the same Apple ID (“Associated Devices”). You can see Content types available for Redownload in your Home Country at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204632. Content may not be available for Redownload if that Content is no longer offered on our Services.

This issue was experienced by Canadian-based Twitter user Anders G da Silva who recently saw three titles removed from his iTunes movie library. When he contacted Apple about the issue, da Silva was told the titles were no longer licensed to appear in the Canada iTunes Store. For his troubles, Apple offered two free rentals.

Yes, movie rentals in exchange for movies this user outright purchased. Or maybe “purchased,” with quotes is more applicable here.

The issue here makes sense from a legal standpoint. Nonetheless, it’s still disheartening since Apple’s has created a system where storing content on the cloud is increasingly encouraged. On the Apple TV, in particular, there’s no way to download this content for offline use, so you’re stuck with watching, and, hopefully, accessing the content that you spent real money on.

Moving forward Apple and other companies (yes, Amazon also does this) might want to rethink the “Buy” button for digital purposes. Better yet, they should rethink their contracts with content providers and come up with a way that purchased content is always available to an end-user.

In a world where everything is slowly moving towards digital, this is yet another example of companies being able to use their power, servers, and terms-of-service to almost directly influence what type of information we are consuming. And companies wonder why some users still turn to obtaining media in less-that-legal manners.

Thoughts on this issue? Let us know below. 

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Bryan considers himself a well-rounded techie, having written articles for MakeUseOf, KnowTechie, AppAdvice, iDownload Blog. When he's not writing, he's being a single dad and rooting for his alma mater, Penn State, or cheering on the Patriots.

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