Apple responds to viral tweet over disappearing iTunes movies

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  • Reply 21 of 52
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member

    davgreg said:
    Having a physical copy of the file does not mean you can play them. Apple has DRM embedded in its supposedly DRM free audio files and I have seen files purchased from iTunes become unplayable on any Apple device despite having purchased them long ago- or they were iTunes Match files downloaded from content I own.

    I have spent way too much time with Apple help over a number of these files and ended up purchasing them a second time just to be done with it and I doubt this is unique to me.

    Amazon has had this issue where purchased books disappeared from Kindles after the company had rights disputes with publishers.

    To be truthful, the only way to be sure you have audio files you cannot have revoked is to buy physical CDs and not rely in any way on anything from an Apple server. I have mostly stopped buying iTunes tracks and buy physical CDs from Amazon to rip for my own use in ALAC (formerly Apple Lossless) or buy them DRM free from HD Tracks and others.

    Tim wants to rent you everything- just like Adobe, Autodesk and Microsoft.
    Cook has little to do with the digital rights model used by Hollywood.

    But cool conspiracy story, bro. 

    I continue to advocate for some sort of basic IQ test for anyone buying an internet connection.
  • Reply 22 of 52
    arthurba said:
    But the same would have been true if the movie was purchased on DVD.  Here in OZ the disc would have been Region 4, and a 'standard' DVD player in Canada would be locked to Region 1 and wouldn't play the DVD.  So in that sense - iTunes is no different to a DVD.  The differences are:
    1) it's really easy to get an "unlocked" dvd player
    2) worse case scenario you can take your Oz DVD player with you to watch your Aussie films
    Yes. True for Bluray too. 

    But 4K Bluray has finally removed regions apparently. 
    edited September 2018 arthurba
  • Reply 23 of 52
    Physical media isn’t perfectly secure either: discs can get scratched, drives can fail, things can be lost or stolen. 

    Hypothetically yes, digital copies can go poof and you’re out of luck. Your DVD collection can also go poof too. I have plenty of DVD cases that no longer have the disc in them, for instance. Move a few times or have small children and things are rarely permanent. 

    In my use case case with small children who like to move things and not put them back, digital is far more secure than physical. 
    lolliver
  • Reply 24 of 52
    claire1 said:
    Also replying toi a few people here:

    Re: Downloads
    Problem with this option is 4K. A lot of us now have 4K content and cannot download it to our Apple TVs, Macs etc.
    Yes I know you cannot see the 4K difference on an iPhone but I watch all my movies on big screens, as many of us do.

    Re: Physical media
    Guys, physical media has it's bad points too. Storage space, living with a thief who's also a family member, misplacing a disc, accidentally leaving it in your hot car, having your house robbed, bag robbed, someone accidentally sitting on a disc, and those lovely unavoidable scratches. I stopped buying physical media when no one respected my DVD library and getting my entire gaming library stolen. Started collecting cheap iTunes movies and never looked back (4.99 for 4K!) Today I have more movies than I could ever imagine owning all a tiny Apple TV box! And I don't get people asking "yo can I borrow that movie?"

    Re: Disappearing content
    There should be a law preventing take-backs. 2 of my movies disappeared when the damn studio decided to release a different version and discontinue the old version. For example I had Donnie Darko and it was replaced with "Donnie Darko Anniversary Edition" and my version was not available for months. Luckily they brought it back for us who purchased it but it's not available on iTunes to buy(like Disney vault movies).
    My point is, purchases should "freeze" once bought and not be able to be removed etc. even when changing regions.
    I had something similar happen recently with the movie Paddington. I bought it more than a year ago and then a few months after Paddinton 2 came out, the studio pulled the old Paddinton release and replaced it with a different version. I’m not sure what changed besides the cover art, but iTunes doesn’t recognize the new title as purchased. 
    Normally this would only be a minor inconvenience because iTunes still allows me to stream the old version and download it from my purchases, however when the old version was sunsetted the meta data was incorrectly updated to give it a PG-13 rating. I have our Apple TV set to limit movies to PG because of our small kids and so Paddington doesn’t show in the TV app and when you go to the Movies app it requires my passcode to play.
    I wrote Apple support about it and they basically said that they are at the mercy of the studios and that they would have to wait for the studio to correct the metadata (rating), which they probably never will since the old version is no longer available. In the end Apple credited me the purchase price to my iTunes account to “make it right” so I have no complaints about how the issue was resolved, but it is an irritating example of one of the disadvantages of digital purchases.
    edited September 2018
  • Reply 25 of 52
    The problem lies with the content providers. They have "regions", "territoriality" limitations (even in the EU among countries - there is no EU iTunes store...!), limited time agreements and so on. Any way they can think of for making more money they will use.
    They sent people to court for music back in the Napster times, and for DVD ripping.
    Truth is, you never own anything. The only difference is whether you have more or less difficulty to make a copy of the movie/song you "bought" to be seen/heard independent of media/player.
    For DRM iTunes track, the easiest way is to convert them, in iTunes itself, in MP3 versions (to not loose any quality, I'd use highest bit rate). MP3 btw, is still subject to licensing. But at least is a lot more common than and easier to play on a wealth of devices.
    For iTunes movies instead, that's tricky. First of all 4K movies are out of the question. But what you can download is Blu-Ray quality (HD), which is not bad at all. The problem then comes on how to remove the DRM protection on the file. Because the question is: if and when Apple goes bust, how can I play my movies if iTunes is not supported anymore? will we get the DRM keys from Apple before they file chapter 11, for me to view my movies where I want (they are MPEG4 movies after all)....?

    So download all you want, and it is not a bad idea, but that file will still be linked to Apple. Unless you can remove legally the DRM...
  • Reply 26 of 52
    I acknowledge some comments that criticised the person who moved between zones and posting on twitter instead of waiting for Apple to explain what was going on.  I also acknowledge that several other posters on this thread have had 'lost' media as well.  Both sides of the argument have points .. still any wonder aggrieved users turn to torrent / VPN nefarious activities.  All that has to be done is for the music and movie copyright holders to make the price such that its simply not worth exploring other paths.  No need for DRM or any other clusterf*ck architecture.  Micro$oft did it with Office 365 ... $40 per year and who can be bothered spending ½ hour pirating the crap.  The media owners have always had their heads up their a*se.  I'm reminded of the monkey trap where the hand can't be removed back through the hole whilst it is a fist holding the prize - the only thing holding the monkey prisoner is greed.
  • Reply 27 of 52
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,033member
    Why aren't people backing up their digital content? It's literally a copy and paste or drag and drop to burn onto another disk or an external drive. Or, it's even easier if you have Time Machine already setup.

    If you have discs, I also recommend ripping them to a disk so 1) you have a duplicate, 2) you have easier access via iTunes for your Apple TV, Plex for your Roku, or whatever streaming setup you may have, and 3) because it makes a lot less noise and uses a lot less power to play a file from your internal drive.
  • Reply 28 of 52
    daven said:
    I download many of the movies I purchased so I can watch them while I'm camping and don't have Internet service.
    Nothing like the great outdoors to enjoy nature get away from technology. 😉
    king editor the grate
  • Reply 29 of 52
    Apple over the weekend responded to a viral tweet claiming it had removed purchased movies from a user's iTunes account with their consent, allegations that kicked spurred a flood of commentary regarding digital media rights.




    The tweet in question outlined a fairly simple-sounding scenario in which a user said three movies he had purchased in iTunes had been removed from his account, meaning he was unable to play or re-download them. Apple support acknowledged that the movies were gone and attempted to rectify the issue by providing rental credits, far off the value of the missing films.

    Me: Hey Apple, three movies I bought disappeared from my iTunes library.
    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

    -- Anders G da Silva (@drandersgs)
    The problem, and initial response from Apple, prompted speculation that Apple has the power to delete purchased media at will, but an investigation by CNET suggests there is more to the story.

    For starters, the user in question had recently relocated from Australia to Canada, changing their active region in the iTunes Store. Some movies are not available in different regions, and if they are, they can be different versions of the film. For instance, production houses might change political or regional references, remove aspects of a film to satisfy ratings boards in more conservative countries, or change the name of a movie to something more relevant for a specific audience.

    That seems to have been the issue in this particular situation.

    In a statement provided to CNET, an Apple spokesperson said, "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."

    The statement suggests neither Apple nor the studio pulled these specific films. Instead, the titles likely have Canada-specific versions that are different than those offered in Australian. Anders is also seemingly unable to switch back to the Australian iTunes Store as it requires a local Paypal or billing address, which he no longer has. There are apparently workarounds here, but it seems unnecessarily difficult to pull off.

    The crux of the matter is physical ownership versus digital ownership. To date, Apple has not revoked access to a film that someone has purchased (outside of these fringe scenarios). For those who want to play it safe, best practices would imply downloading and creating a physical copy of the movie. Store these on a hard drive, and should ever the day come that Apple or a studio ever remove access, you still have them available.

    In this case, it appears Apple Support has now pledged a workaround to allow Anders to once more have access to his movies. He also has been a good sport about it, noting he "fell into a licensing crack, it seems."
    Apple do remove movies from an account though. My first iTunes movie purchase was Luca Guadagnino’s I AM LOVE. I noticed recently it was gone. At first Apple claimed it had been only a rental but later admitted the studio had pulled rights and it was no longer available so my purchase had been deleted. They gave no credit or refund. I used to download all items but now my tv series and movie purchases together are greater than my external HD. I do download all movies again now though. However, their marketing, especially in relation to Apple TV, is all about streaming in preference to download and not needing to use storage. 
    mac_128
  • Reply 30 of 52
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,033member

    Recap…


    Lesson 1: If you change your iTunes Store country there may be titles that that aren't available because licensing is a per county (or union) occurrence.

    Lesson 2: To prevent losing a purchase because you change your country or because licensing is pulled from an online store purchase you need to back your shit up.

    hammeroftruth
  • Reply 31 of 52
    asciiascii Posts: 5,936member
    Maybe when you change region it could pop up a warning "The following items will be unavailable in your new region: X, Y, Z, ..."
  • Reply 32 of 52
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    Apple do remove movies from an account though. My first iTunes movie purchase was Luca Guadagnino’s I AM LOVE. I noticed recently it was gone. At first Apple claimed it had been only a rental but later admitted the studio had pulled rights and it was no longer available so my purchase had been deleted. They gave no credit or refund.
    That sucks, I was under the impression that your access to things you purchased was perpetual, and that if Apple lost the rights to content they would only stop offering it for new purchases, they wouldn't do anything to existing purchases.  Do we know what happens to downloaded copies, do they still function, or does the DRM block them from playback?

    That takes a massive bite out of the advantage in cloud content, if you have to download and store your own copies to maintain access.  Especially for the Apple TV, imagine buying a movie then going to stream it a day later and it's been removed.
  • Reply 33 of 52
    Strange story... If he kept his Australia account he could always use it (watch, or buy prepaid cards and buy).
    I have an US and a Dutch iTunes account. I switch between accounts when needed. (And no I do not live in the US Nor have an US address)
  • Reply 34 of 52
    Some here are addressing the "download your media" suggestion but are only talking about audio, that audio files you download from iTunes is DRM-free and playable anywhere, anytime.

    But the article was about movies.  If you purchase a movie and download it, it has DRM, doesn't it?  That makes it pretty useless as a universally playable backup later.
  • Reply 35 of 52
    I wonder why buy movies as digital version only?
    These days most of movies comes with movieanywhere code.
    Just buy BD on sales and add digital code to movieanywhere and linked  up to 3 different platform.(amazon, itunes, google etc..)

    Unless you buy 4k digital movie, buy digital movie only is waste money I think.
  • Reply 36 of 52
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    YP101 said:
    I wonder why buy movies as digital version only?
    Because a person might not want the physical media?
  • Reply 37 of 52
    Rayz2016 said:

    davgreg said:
    Having a physical copy of the file does not mean you can play them. Apple has DRM embedded in its supposedly DRM free audio files and I have seen files purchased from iTunes become unplayable on any Apple device despite having purchased them long ago- or they were iTunes Match files downloaded from content I own.

    I have spent way too much time with Apple help over a number of these files and ended up purchasing them a second time just to be done with it and I doubt this is unique to me.

    Amazon has had this issue where purchased books disappeared from Kindles after the company had rights disputes with publishers.

    To be truthful, the only way to be sure you have audio files you cannot have revoked is to buy physical CDs and not rely in any way on anything from an Apple server. I have mostly stopped buying iTunes tracks and buy physical CDs from Amazon to rip for my own use in ALAC (formerly Apple Lossless) or buy them DRM free from HD Tracks and others.

    Tim wants to rent you everything- just like Adobe, Autodesk and Microsoft.
    Cook has little to do with the digital rights model used by Hollywood.

    But cool conspiracy story, bro. 

    I continue to advocate for some sort of basic IQ test for anyone buying an internet connection.
    That won't weed out evil geniuses.
  • Reply 38 of 52
    The rule of thumb for digital purchases is ALWAYS download a local copy and back it up.
  • Reply 39 of 52
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,454member
    pakitt said:
    For iTunes movies instead, that's tricky. First of all 4K movies are out of the question. But what you can download is Blu-Ray quality (HD), which is not bad at all. The problem then comes on how to remove the DRM protection on the file. Because the question is: if and when Apple goes bust, how can I play my movies if iTunes is not supported anymore? will we get the DRM keys from Apple before they file chapter 11, for me to view my movies where I want (they are MPEG4 movies after all)....?

    So download all you want, and it is not a bad idea, but that file will still be linked to Apple. Unless you can remove legally the DRM...
    On the downloaded HD movies, does Apple offer HDR and DV the same way they offer it on streaming content? I haven’t downloaded a movie in so long I haven’t thought about this until now. HDR and DV are only available on 4K discs, but not sure if the same limitation applies to downloads, even hough it does not to streaming.
  • Reply 40 of 52
    It's shocking to hear that music and movie studios would want me to repurchase my media. They are so trustworthy and they would go out of their way to make sure my experience is flawless right?
    😂🤣😂🤣

    This is the digital version of the shell game most of us played when media went from tape, to optical (laserdisc,) to optical in a smaller size (DVD), to high res optical (Blueray DVD or if you backed the wrong horse HDDVD), to now 4K streaming or 4K Blueray. They all have copy protection and the industry can flip the switch and kill it if it's connected to the internet at any time. 

    They still punish their own customers instead of trying to come up with a reasonable solution that would curb piracy. What other industry thinks that when you buy their products, you bought them with the intent to pirate it?

    Bottom line: Enjoy what you have while you have it. 
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