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Actor Bruce Willis won't sue Apple over iTunes music ownership [u]

post #1 of 208
Thread Starter 
Having spent thousands of dollars buying music from iTunes, actor Bruce Willis was originally reported to be considering a lawsuit against Apple that would grant the rights to his large music collection to his daughters upon his death. But since then, a family member has denied the original report [updated].

Willis was apparently upset when he learned that he doesn't own the tracks he buys online, but is "borrowing" them under a license, according to the Daily Mail. That was said to have led him to consider a lawsuit against Apple, in hopes of being able to legally pass on his digital music collection to daughters Rumer, Scout and Tallaluh.

Update: However, after the story began gaining attention, the actor's wife, Emma Hemming-Willis, denied the rumor via Twitter. "It's not a true story," she wrote.

Willis was originally said to be considering supporting ongoing legal action in five U.S. states, in which users are hoping to expand their rights with respect to digital music.

Apple's licensing reportedly allows the company to "freeze the iTunes accounts of those it believes are passing on music to others." But Willis was said to believe he should be able to grant his music collection in his will, much like other property can be bequeathed.

"Lots of people will be surprised on learning all those tracks and books they have bought over the years don't actually belong to them," attorney Chris walton told the Daily Mail. "It's only natural you would want to pass them on to a loved one."

Willis
Bruce Willis at 2010 Comic Con. Photo by Gage Skidmore, via Wikipedia.


Willis is said to be passionate about digital music rights, which reportedly led him to consider legal action. He occasionally sings and plays with a blues band.

The report cited the his family's "public-spirited streak" as evidence that Willis may be considering the lawsuit in hopes of "helping others."
post #2 of 208
Amazon has the same licensing.

Shouldn't he be suing the labels over this?
post #3 of 208

I'm not sure if it's Apple's fault, but somebody should be responsible for this. I hope he succeeds.

post #4 of 208

Partly agree

We should be able to will or convey rights to digital music that we purchased. But only to one person.
post #5 of 208

Either a very, very principled man or a very, very large collection. :)

post #6 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by enjourni View Post

I'm not sure it it's Apple's fault, but somebody should be responsible for this. I hope he succeeds.

 

Agreed. 

post #7 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by Banana Bonanza View Post

Either a very, very principled man or a very, very large collection. :)

 

Why not both?

post #8 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by Banana Bonanza View Post

Either a very, very principled man or a very, very large collection. :)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alonso Perez View Post

 

Why not both?


Maybe both. But real reason he is doing this is because he can.

post #9 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbinger View Post
But real reason he is doing this is because he can.

Anyone can.

 

And someone should.

post #10 of 208

I agree there should be ownership and therefore the right to pass inherit, lust like physical media. 

 

But also just like physical media, each item should surely go only to one person, not all three. May be just sloppy writing in the article, but it implied the library going to all three daughters.

 

I'd also imagine it's the music labels trying to avoid this, not Apple.

 
post #11 of 208

Apple doesn't own the rights to the music.

 

They sell under license for those who do, just like any other retailer of digital goods.

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post #12 of 208

have to say i agree i buy 3-4 albums/movies a month not to mention apps and  and to think when i go they just disapear into the either and cant be accessed by my son is insane. think i will have to start buying elsewhere and just transferring to itunes instead of buying from apple, until this whole mess is resolved.

Ok i admit it i'm a Fanboy, and my opinions are alway's biast towards my love for apple
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Ok i admit it i'm a Fanboy, and my opinions are alway's biast towards my love for apple
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post #13 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

Amazon has the same licensing.
Shouldn't he be suing the labels over this?

 

Maybe, but don't forget that Apple has a "Buy" button in iTunes, not a "License" button. The buy button is deceptive, and so would any statement such as that made by SJ on numerous occasions that in iTunes you buy a song because people like to "own" their music.

 

I don't know how Amazon portrays it, but I don't care because I don't buy from them.

post #14 of 208
Itunes s**ks... buy CDs instead.
post #15 of 208
Quote

 

...But also just like physical media, each item should surely go only to one person, not all three...

 

 

That's a reasonable point. I would guess that Bruce Willis's lawyers would figure that out and make the lawsuit accordingly.

post #16 of 208
So give your logon credentials over in your will.

The problem comes when you have your collection that is persistent even when there is physical device loss. No longer can you ruin a CD or lose a collection because of thievery therefor when you buy that one AAC track with no DRM you can technically distribute it to anyone with almost no effort. If we can simply start copying all our digital content to anyone we want without any reasonable proof that we're decommissioned every device that has stored our content (which may not be possible with severe damage or theft) then it becomes just as easy to torrent all media as it is to distribute to others.

It would be nice if Apple could setup a service that allowed for someone to submit your account in your will and then allow for legal documents of this will and your passing to give Apple the right (after inking deals with the content holders) to pass your digital content to another. Call it Last WIllis and Testament in honour of Bruce (not serious).

So maybe not that, but I'd like there to be some middle ground here but what Bruce is suggesting simply isn't reasonable since it appears he wants to pass all content to each of his children. He wants to make one copy he paid for into 3 copies. Three from 1. Is that what he's suing for?

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post #17 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by Banana Bonanza View Post

Either a very, very principled man or a very, very large collection. 1smile.gif

Or he hasn't had a hit movie for a while and needs the publicity.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dangermouse View Post

I agree there should be ownership and therefore the right to pass inherit, lust like physical media. 

But also just like physical media, each item should surely go only to one person, not all three. May be just sloppy writing in the article, but it implied the library going to all three daughters.

There's no way in the world that you'd have the right to own the music. Ownership implies the ability to resell, distribute, or do anything else with it. Someone like WIllis knows that. When you buy a DVD of one of his movies, you do not own the movie. You own the physical media with a license to use the content. That license is limited (you can not use it for a public performance, for example). The iTunes license is not significantly different. You own the physical media (your computer's hard drive) and a license to use the music. Just the same as Willis' DVDs.

The only significant difference is that's not clear is what happens if he dies and gives the computer to one of his kids. The computer certainly belongs to the kids, but the license may not transfer (I'm not sure). But that's a relatively minor difference - and one that few people are going to be concerned about.

It is totally unreasonable to expect that you own the music when you pay $0.99 for a track on iTunes. One could argue that the licensing rights should be broader, but that's a very different topic. And you can expect that if the music industry gives you more rights, they're going to want more money for each track.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dangermouse View Post

I'd also imagine it's the music labels trying to avoid this, not Apple.

Obviously it's the music labels. Apple couldn't care less.
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post #18 of 208
i can hear apple responding (in private amongst themselves) with "Die Hard" LOL

seriously, his daughters probably don't like his music... but why not just give the password to his daughters?... (and the cost of the suit will be more than the cost of the music by far)
or,
why not put in his will, "transfer itunes music to my daughters" and let the trustee deal with this?
post #19 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

Apple doesn't own the rights to the music.

They sell under license for those who do, just like any other retailer of digital goods.

If Apple 'sells' the music and takes a cut, of course the customer can go after it.

It's Apple that should renegotiate with the labels -- and if necessary, reprice the product they're selling for bequest purposes -- and not Bruce Willis.
post #20 of 208

How many copies of Hudson Hawk and The Return of Bruno do the kids need?

post #21 of 208

Well, this is a sticky situation, because he bought the music in HIS name, so he should be able to grant the songs to ONE person, not multiple.  So, it depends on how he plans on willing it to his MULTIPLE daughters.

 

The other problem is that Apple is the conduit, but it is the RECORD LABELS that grant Apple permission to sell these songs with SPECIFIC terms and conditions.

 

I think Bruce should sue the RECORD LABELS, because Apple doesn't have much of a choice since it isn't THEIR content, they are just abiding by the terms and conditions of how the RECORD LABEL licenses it to the user, Apple is just the conduit.

 

Personally, I like buying CDs.  That way there is not argument.  Its a physical item and only one person can have ownership and they can be passed on only to one party per CD.


But if Bruce Willis is trying to WILL his FOUR daughters the same content, he has to figure out whom gets what, or lets THEM figure it out, but the problem is that EVERYTHING Is tied to HIS iTunes account and HIS iTunes account goes BYE BYE, when he passes away.

 

I think the court should only allow him to deal with the RECORD LABELS on this.

post #22 of 208
This is a very serious story...wait... "according to the Daily Mail." Oh, move along now...
post #23 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonimo View Post

Itunes s**ks... buy CDs instead.

Sorry, but that doesn't change things all that much. When you buy a CD, you are not buying the music. You are buying the physical media with a license to listen to the music.

The same thing is true of his movies. You do not buy the movie. You buy the physical media (DVD or BluRay) and a license to watch the movie for personal use only. In some ways, the movie license is more restrictive. If I buy a DVD in the US, I can not play it on non-US players. An iTunes track, OTOH, will work in any country where the music is licensed. Maybe we should all sue Bruce Willis because we can't watch his DVDs if we move to Brazil and buy a DVD player there.
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post #24 of 208
Because he can. Most of the rest of us could ot afford such a lawsuit. Thanks to him, there is now somebody fighting for this that will set a precedent for the rest of us.
post #25 of 208

so he is saying he was so stupid he never read the agreement he was agreeing to until after he had spent thousands of dollars over the years, and its Apple's fault he didn't read it and doesn't agree with it and kept spending money anyways?

post #26 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by haar View Post

seriously, his daughters probably don't like his music... but why not just give the password to his daughters?... (and the cost of the suit will be more than the cost of the music by far)
or,
why not put in his will, "transfer itunes music to my daughters" and let the trustee deal with this?

1) Probably not, but it does bring up a fair point of being able to transfer ownership access of digital content you've legally purchased. It could take many years and Willis might be remembered for being the catalyst here or not remembered at all for this be will need laws on this as do move farther down this rabbit hole.

2) While that is what Apple will probably tell him it does mean that any DRMed content will need to be tied to a device (or at least a user account on a "PC") so the content can be accessed. This isn't user friendly. The content owners might not care but Apple will care about this. Something will have to come of all this.

3) You can put it in your will that the content is to be transferred but it's as legally binding as me donating all the world's water to Mars upon my death to be transfered via a Stargate that is to be placed on both the bottom of Marianas Trench and and in a low orbit above Mars. Apple doesn't own the content either. They are merely a distributor so just as Best Buy can't legally pull a CD out of your hand and give it to another person they can't simply make a transfer to another person, much less three.

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post #27 of 208
Legally, there is no grounds for this lawsuit. Apple can put whatever terms it wants to in its license and when you make a purchase you agree to those terms.

To sue because "it's not fair" is not going to get him very far in a court.
post #28 of 208

Its not Apple... its the music industry.  And I'm not certain you actually "own" the music if you buy a CD.  You didn't buy the copyright for the song when you bought a CD, you can't play it and charge money to others.  All you bought was the right to listen to it.  Its not Apple's fault and its no different than any other online provider.  Apple has had to drag the music industry into the 21st century.

post #29 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


Or he hasn't had a hit movie for a while and needs the publicity.
There's no way in the world that you'd have the right to own the music. Ownership implies the ability to resell, distribute, or do anything else with it. Someone like WIllis knows that. When you buy a DVD of one of his movies, you do not own the movie. You own the physical media with a license to use the content. That license is limited (you can not use it for a public performance, for example). The iTunes license is not significantly different. You own the physical media (your computer's hard drive) and a license to use the music. Just the same as Willis' DVDs.
The only significant difference is that's not clear is what happens if he dies and gives the computer to one of his kids. The computer certainly belongs to the kids, but the license may not transfer (I'm not sure). But that's a relatively minor difference - and one that few people are going to be concerned about.
It is totally unreasonable to expect that you own the music when you pay $0.99 for a track on iTunes. One could argue that the licensing rights should be broader, but that's a very different topic. And you can expect that if the music industry gives you more rights, they're going to want more money for each track.
Obviously it's the music labels. Apple couldn't care less.

 

By "owning" people understand "owning a copy of", not the rights to distribute and so on. This is totally obvious because the analogy is with physical media. My CDs go to my daughters with no licence bs to worry about. Not so sure why this is hard for you to understand.

 

It's not a minor difference. It's a huge difference and people will be mad about it when they find out, as I just did today. I'm not buying any content from iTunes till this is settled (I'll continue to rent movies though, since the terms there are clear).

 

$0.99 per track isn't cheap or expensive. It's the market price under then notion widely held by buyers that they are buying, and it is a similar price to physical media price. The problem here is that the sale is deceptive.

 

The solution here is for Apple to permit transfer of a collection to another iTunes account in good standing. Apple could charge a reasonable service fee to do this (some paperwork would be needed in the case of "willed" collections), but it cannot expect people to simply accept that their collections vanish into thin air and heirs who use them are treated as pirates.

post #30 of 208

I think that it is implied that you are buying a license or right to use.

post #31 of 208
EULA

Apparently Mr. Willis doesn't know how to read an end-user license agreement or he skips over it just like everybody else does.

This is so freaking stupid.

I hate it when Hollywood types get their panties in a wad and start trying to make the world a better place.

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post #32 of 208

Sooo... Our grand-grandchildren will have like four or five accounts to update stuff from/with? Not really handy..

Still, good luck Bruce! Win for us :)

post #33 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodlink View Post

EULA
Apparently Mr. Willis doesn't know how to read an end-user license agreement or he skips over it just like everybody else does.
This is so freaking stupid.
I hate it when Hollywood types get their panties in a wad and start trying to make the world a better place.


Who reads those?

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post #34 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodlink View Post

EULA
Apparently Mr. Willis doesn't know how to read an end-user license agreement or he skips over it just like everybody else does.
This is so freaking stupid.
I hate it when Hollywood types get their panties in a wad and start trying to make the world a better place.


Oh, come on, it changes every few weeks and it's huge. Where is the value prop in using a service that periodically requires hours of your time to make sure you are not being treated deceptively?

post #35 of 208
Amazing how stupid tabloid stories can spread like wildfire. Why is this even news? Just because if you use the word Apple in a story you get page hits? Ridiculous.
post #36 of 208

Go for it and good luck Bruce!

post #37 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alonso Perez View Post
The solution here is for Apple to permit transfer of a collection to another iTunes account in good standing. Apple could charge a reasonable service fee to do this (some paperwork would be needed in the case of "willed" collections), but it cannot expect people to simply accept that their collections vanish into thin air and heirs who use them are treated as pirates.

 

Apple probably can't do this though since they don't own the music they sell.  They are a reseller of licenses. What Apple is allowed to do with music is based on their agreements with the actual owners of the content.
 
post #38 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


Maybe we should all sue Bruce Willis because we can't watch his DVDs if we move to Brazil and buy a DVD player there.

 

He is not suing the music artists, but the store for having unfair licenses.  A comparable action is you suing the store that sold you your DVD.  Feel free.

 

Do you really read every word in the terms and conditions you frequently have to accept to keep an Apple account?  That is not an issue when you walk out of your store.

 

There is no doubt this is an issue that needs sorting.  Either that or we need to go back to buying CDs where we have the government protected right to transfer ownership (at least in the USA).  Trust me, if the companies had their way, you would have no transfer rights even for your DVD/CD.

 

There is a good chance if this was ever taken to the supreme court, they may find in favor of the people and apply the First-sale doctrine to all the people who are effectively being scammed - yes scammed - because most people think they own the music they buy online.  In the meantime, the licensees will always write every contract in their best interest.

post #39 of 208

Apple pioneered the concept of a DRM-free downloadable music store with content from the major labelshttp://www.apple.com/fr/hotnews/thoughtsonmusic/

 

His daughters can simply use the AAC/MP3 files, as is, from his computers.  Assuming they'd have any interest in his music collection!  :LOL:

 

If he's that concerned with this digital media rights, he should file a lawsuit over the DRM on downloadable movies and TV shows.  Though I expect that would hit a little closer to home.


Edited by John.B - 9/3/12 at 7:47am

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post #40 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by Banana Bonanza View Post

Either a very, very principled man or a very, very large collection. 1smile.gif

It's only a rumor that he might sue or that he's upset etc. It's also just a rumor that Apple will freeze accounts. They CAN doesn't equal they have or will.

Willis is an actor, his life revolves around contracts, etc. if he didn't read the Terms and Conditions any of the dozens of times they were presented before he hit Agree then shame on him not Apple. And double shame since he's supposed to be is huge proponent for digital rights. How can you be speaking on something if you don't know the current standing in the game
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