WTF?! Since the advent of purchasing digital goods, be it books, movies, or games, there’s been a question over who is the legal owner of said content. One would imagine that it’s the person who bought the item(s), but that’s often not the case, as Apple just proved.
Canadian Twitter user Anders G da Silva took to the microblogging platform to reveal Apple’s response when three of the movies he bought vanished from his iTunes library. He posted a screenshot of his correspondence with an iTunes store customer representative, who explained that the videos’ content provider had removed the movies from the Canadian Store.
Me: Hey Apple, three movies I bought disappeared from my iTunes library.— Anders G da Silva (@drandersgs) 10 September 2018
Apple: Oh yes, those are not available anymore. Thank you for buying them. Here are two movie rentals on us!
Me: Wait... WHAT?? @tim_cook when did this become acceptable? pic.twitter.com/dHJ0wMSQH9
The rep explains that as the iTunes/App Store is a store front that gives content providers a platform to sell their content, it can only offer what the studios or distributors have made available. The person added that Apple could not refund Silva as this can only happen within a certain time frame; instead, he was offered some movie rentals of his choice, “priced up to $5.99 USD,” as compensation. When he justifiably complained, they gave him two more free rentals.
Part 2:— Anders G da Silva (@drandersgs) 11 September 2018
Me: I am not really interested in the rentals. I want my movies back or my money back.
Apple: I totally get how you feel...
Me: Condescending, but go one...
Apple: You see, we are just a store front.
Me: Store front?
Digital ownership is a complicated matter, and it’s not as if anyone combs through, or even glances, at the enormous and complex End User License Agreements.
We’ve seen similar confusion over digital ownership involving Amazon and Disney. Ultimately, users aren't really buying something in cases like these; they’re just allowed to access it indefinitely. At least until the licenses expire, which is when these incidents can happen.
Update: Apple has released a statement that says it won't delete any movies that have been downloaded to your iTunes library. It appears the situation could be related to Da Silva purchasing the movies in Australia before he moved to Canada nine months ago.
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.