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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 213
    Amazon has the same licensing.

    Shouldn't he be suing the labels over this?
  • Reply 2 of 213


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

  • Reply 3 of 213
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,576member
    We should be able to will or convey rights to digital music that we purchased. But only to one person.
  • Reply 4 of 213


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

  • Reply 5 of 213
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member

    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. 

  • Reply 6 of 213

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Banana Bonanza View Post


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



     


    Why not both?

  • Reply 7 of 213

    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.

  • Reply 8 of 213

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Harbinger View Post


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


    Anyone can.


     


    And someone should.

  • Reply 9 of 213



    #next_pages_container { width: 5px; hight: 5px; position: absolute; top: -100px; left: -100px; z-index: 2147483647 !important; }
    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.


     
  • Reply 10 of 213
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member


    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.

  • Reply 11 of 213


    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.

  • Reply 12 of 213

    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.

  • Reply 13 of 213
    Itunes s**ks... buy CDs instead.
  • Reply 14 of 213

    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.

  • Reply 15 of 213
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    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?
  • Reply 16 of 213
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Either a very, very principled man or a very, very large collection. :)

    Or he hasn't had a hit movie for a while and needs the publicity.
    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.
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 213
    haarhaar Posts: 563member
    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?
  • Reply 18 of 213
    hill60 wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 213


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

  • Reply 20 of 213
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member


    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.

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