Apple must face lawsuit alleging that 'buying' media on iTunes is misleading

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 66
    fred1fred1 Posts: 1,117member
    I see from the many comments here that there is some confusion.  There are two issues here: 1. the ability to store what you've acquired and read/listen to it whenever you want and 2. the ability to lend, sell, or give what you have to someone else.  There's also the matter that I believe has been in the courts about the inability to pass on what you have to others after you die.  
    In my (seldom) humble opinion, buying something means you can do what you want with it. You own it and with that goes the right to give it away or sell it as I say in #2 above.  What Apple and Amazon and others are doing are the same as if Netflix said you were buying a movie just because you can download it and watch it offline.  

    Bruce Willis (yes, that one) brought a suit just like this against Apple a few years ago and it went nowhere.  Or not: https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/bruce-willis-did-not-sue-apple-over-his-itunes-library-186714/


  • Reply 42 of 66
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 2,046member
    DAalseth said:
    I won’t side with Apple or the guy who filed the suit. I just think this is a subject that needs to be clarified in the law. Buy has meant one thing for centuries, but now it may mean something else. Or maybe Buy isn’t the word that they should be using. But in this age when a company can sell you something, and then not make it available any more the word is in question. In this age when you can Buy something and later the company can reach into your device and erase it, there is a question whether Buy is the right word. In this age when you can buy something, and keep it, but if the server is shut off it becomes worthless, it’s worth asking if we are in fact Buying things.
    I don't think Apple is reaching into your device to erase purchased content that you've already downloaded. If you've downloaded it, you have it. If you haven't downloaded it, and they pull it from their library that's a different question. The answer is that it's not significantly different from the physical media business model.

    The main difference is that the hipster dude at the old record store would've looked at you like you were nuts if you paid for an album and then handed it back to him and told him to hang onto it so that you could just come in and grab it when you wanted to listen to it. Because it's a lot easier to do that with digital content, Apple has always accommodated that option, but to my recollection they've always also been forthright with the warning that it's possible the item won't always be there, and if you haven't kept a copy, you'll be out of luck.
  • Reply 43 of 66
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    DAalseth said:
    I won’t side with Apple or the guy who filed the suit. I just think this is a subject that needs to be clarified in the law. Buy has meant one thing for centuries, but now it may mean something else. Or maybe Buy isn’t the word that they should be using. But in this age when a company can sell you something, and then not make it available any more the word is in question. In this age when you can Buy something and later the company can reach into your device and erase it, there is a question whether Buy is the right word. In this age when you can buy something, and keep it, but if the server is shut off it becomes worthless, it’s worth asking if we are in fact Buying things.
    So the question is why some content removed in the first place. I have always read the reason is the copyright holder makes that decision and there’s nothing the various streaming services can do about it. 
  • Reply 44 of 66
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 2,046member
    fred1 said:
    I see from the many comments here that there is some confusion.  There are two issues here: 1. the ability to store what you've acquired and read/listen to it whenever you want and 2. the ability to lend, sell, or give what you have to someone else.  There's also the matter that I believe has been in the courts about the inability to pass on what you have to others after you die.  
    In my (seldom) humble opinion, buying something means you can do what you want with it. You own it and with that goes the right to give it away or sell it as I say in #2 above.  What Apple and Amazon and others are doing are the same as if Netflix said you were buying a movie just because you can download it and watch it offline.  

    Bruce Willis (yes, that one) brought a suit just like this against Apple a few years ago and it went nowhere.  Or not: https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/bruce-willis-did-not-sue-apple-over-his-itunes-library-186714/


    In this context, "buying something" has never meant that "you can do what you want with it." Buying a physical LP record meant you could take it home and play it. You could make a cassette (or CD) copy of it for personal use if you wanted to listen in the car or on your walkman. You could play it for your friends. You could loan it to a friend for them to listen to it and return it. It did not mean you could (legally) make copies to give away or sell. It did not mean you could play it at your bar, club or department store without paying performance royalties. It did not man you could (legally) use samples from it without paying royalties to create a new epic rap tune. You could give away or sell your LP record, but (legally) your personal cassette copy should be erased or be given to the person who now owns the LP. Buying that record was buying a personal use license to play that copy of the original recording. Your humble opinion may differ, but it would not comport with actual copyright law.

    Also, Netflix will let you download content within their app to play it offline later, but if your Netflix subscription lapses, your access to that content goes away. Downloading purchased content from Apple will allow you to play that content whenever you like, even if you no longer have any active subscriptions or payments going to Apple, so long as you maintain compatible playback equipment. So, not the same thing. 
    edited April 2021
  • Reply 45 of 66
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 3,598member
    As of this week's Apple event, Apple is now letting two spouses be co-owners of an Apple Card, which is one small step, but they still won't let two spouses be co-owners of purchased software or media. Until Apple learns to treat married people equally, they won't be perceived as being fair.
  • Reply 46 of 66
    This Judge should look at the video game industry, because this is exactly the same issue within there. If I buy a digital game, that game can be removed and I lose my access to it. When you purchased any media, you are buying the license to use it. The distributor has the right to terminate the license at anytime without reparations. 

    For example, a kid on Playstation had his PS4 Bricked and his ID BANNED because he was flagged for “hate speech”. It would be one thing to revoke his online privilege, but they went as far as banning his user if, and bricking his console, rendering all of the content, games, and saves useless. 
  • Reply 47 of 66
    CheeseFreezeCheeseFreeze Posts: 1,264member
    Yes, yes, yes and amen!

    I lost thousands of dollars of content just moving to another continent, because the movies and other media were restricted to the USA. This is misleading.

    I know, Adam and Eve were the first not reading the “Apple terms and conditions”, but you can’t expect users to read hundreds of pages of legal when the purchase button refers to as BUY.

    Similarly I can give my content to my wife or kids when I die. It’s absurd!

    Apple is full of shit - I want my money back, or access to all my content.
    edited April 2021
  • Reply 48 of 66
    CheeseFreezeCheeseFreeze Posts: 1,264member
    dysamoria said:
    lkrupp said:
    Amazon, Microsoft, Walmart, Fandango, and many allow their customers to ‘buy' digital content. Are they being sued too? Why not? 
    Not at this time, but they absolutely should be. This whole industry is full of shit.
    If they act the same as Apple, yes, they need to be sued accordingly, which I bet will happen once they sued Apple succesfully
  • Reply 49 of 66
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 2,046member
    This Judge should look at the video game industry, because this is exactly the same issue within there. If I buy a digital game, that game can be removed and I lose my access to it. When you purchased any media, you are buying the license to use it. The distributor has the right to terminate the license at anytime without reparations. 

    For example, a kid on Playstation had his PS4 Bricked and his ID BANNED because he was flagged for “hate speech”. It would be one thing to revoke his online privilege, but they went as far as banning his user if, and bricking his console, rendering all of the content, games, and saves useless. 
    Ownership of things has always been more complicated and less certain than people want to imagine. Go buy some real estate, paying cash, in full. Then, refuse to pay property taxes on it and see who owns it in ten years. It won't be you. Each thing is different, but the fact remains that "ownership" is often contingent on circumstances that are not absolute. That's why courts and lawyers stay busy.
  • Reply 50 of 66
    narwhalnarwhal Posts: 120member
    Your are under the obligation of downloading your purchased copy and store it in your possession.
    I don't believe Apple allows you to download 4K movies as a file. Maybe this was allowed for lower-res movies, but never for 4K, which Apple is always encouraging us to "buy." In my opinion, we buy the right to stream the content from Apple for the life of the company (Apple). If not, I want a refund of any content that disappears from their servers. The threat of having to refund money to consumers for content that vanishes should always hang over Apple's head to prevent this from happening.
    muthuk_vanalingamZooMigo
  • Reply 51 of 66
    AppleZulu said:
    There should probably be more clarity with all this, but it doesn't seem as difficult as it's being made out to be.

    It has always been true that when purchasing copies of recorded content, music, motion pictures, books, etc., it's incumbent on the purchaser to store and maintain that content. For physical media, the seller's responsibility clearly ends when the buyer takes possession. Losing or damaging your physical copy does not create any requirements on the seller to replace it with a new copy, and they're not required to keep titles in stock, just in case. That's why there's a booming business on eBay, reselling out-of-print materials. Also, the seller is not required to replace your physical media for free should they issue an upgraded version. The accountants for the Beatles and Rolling Stones know this fact very well. The upgraded Let it Be will be available no CD, LP and BluRay for purchase everywhere this year, just in time for Christmas!

    In reality, it's not all that different for digital content. You can buy music and video on iTunes, download it and put it on whatever storage device you wish. Apple will probably still have it in stock in their library, too, and if so, you can re-download it again, if you like. It's always been pretty clear to me, however, that my purchase doesn't obligate them to keep it in their library in perpetuity. The owners of copyrighted content are always at liberty to pull it from a store if they don't want to sell it there any longer. This isn't clear to everyone, it seems, so maybe there could be better information provided. Of course, popping up a detailed legal disclaimer or agreement every time someone makes a purchase won't help much, either, because everybody clicks that stuff without reading it. So who knows what the answer is?
    I think the reasonable solution would be - Notify the people impacted BEFORE content is pulled away. There has to be a time-limit (say 30 days) before any purchased content is pulled away due to whatever reasons. And IF the person who bought the content does not download a copy within that timeframe, then that person is out of luck. It is NOT a perfect solution. There will be few ignorant users who would still sue Apple (not reading the notification/not taking any action even after reading the notification etc), but Apple would be covered legally/morally.
    elector
  • Reply 52 of 66
    davidwdavidw Posts: 2,073member
    fred1 said:
    I see from the many comments here that there is some confusion.  There are two issues here: 1. the ability to store what you've acquired and read/listen to it whenever you want and 2. the ability to lend, sell, or give what you have to someone else.  There's also the matter that I believe has been in the courts about the inability to pass on what you have to others after you die.  
    In my (seldom) humble opinion, buying something means you can do what you want with it. You own it and with that goes the right to give it away or sell it as I say in #2 above.  What Apple and Amazon and others are doing are the same as if Netflix said you were buying a movie just because you can download it and watch it offline.  

    Bruce Willis (yes, that one) brought a suit just like this against Apple a few years ago and it went nowhere.  Or not: https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/bruce-willis-did-not-sue-apple-over-his-itunes-library-186714/


    When you buy an airline ticket, can you do any of what you stated in 2? Not legally. Even if you were to buy a transferable ticket, you would still need the airline approval to transfer the ticket to the new buyer. Not everyone is allow to fly. And the airline will usually charge a fee for transferring the ticket. And good luck "lending" or "giving" that ticket for someone else to use.

    When you buy an extended warranty on electronic goods offered by the store of purchase, it's usually is only good for the original purchaser. If the original owner sells the electronic good before the extended warranty expires, the remaining time is not transferable to the new owner. But manufacturer extended warranties like AppleCare and for autos, are usually transferable to the new owner.

    When you buy prescription drugs, can you do any of 2? When you buy season tickets to a ball game you can. But not when you buy season ski tickets or a season pass to Disneyland. Can you buy a case of beer and give a can to a minor? 


    There are lots of things that you "buy" that can not be lend, sold or giving away to someone else, without some restrictions. "Buying" something doesn't mean what you think it means.  "Buying" is nothing but the transfer of payment. That's all. You are still legally bind by any restrictions on what you bought. And that may include restrictions on your ability to lend, sell or give it to someone else. Buying copyrighted goods usually comes with lots of restrictions, buying shoes, hats and gloves, not so much.  
    edited April 2021
  • Reply 53 of 66
    Buying also implies the ability to transfer something to another party. If I buy a car, I can sell it, if I buy a book, I can loan it out. Digital purchases offer none of these features. A good look at existing systems and laws is necessary with so much stuff going to virtual ownership.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 54 of 66
    mbdrake76 said: Heck, even Apple's own marketing states: "Buy. Rent. Watch. All inside the app. Welcome to the new home of thousands of films, including the latest blockbusters from iTunes. Now you can buy, rent and watch, all from inside the app — as well as watch everything you’ve previously purchased from iTunes."  There's no little asterisk there that links to teeny-tiny text with the caveat that the content may not be permanent and one might potentially lose access to their purchased content if a distributor removes it from the store. 
    It's in the Apple Media Services Terms and Conditions that you have to agree to:

    "You may be limited in the amount of Content you may download, and some downloaded Content may expire after a given amount of time after downloaded or first played. Certain Content may not be available for download at all.

    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/HT204632. Content may not be available for Redownload if that Content is no longer offered on our Services."

    But it still mentions 'download' / 'redownload' and not 'streaming/playback' - unless Apple is using 'download' and 'redownload' as a general term for playing the content (by which the mechanism of delivery is considered irrelevant - after all, you still need to download the content from the server (in batches at least - with the potential to temporarily store it on the local device as part of a cache) to be able to play it).  This is where a judge/lawyer comes in handy. 

    It's also interesting that they use the word 'acquired' rather than 'bought' or 'purchased' - it's a catch-all term that can be applied to both rental and 'purchased' content.   The terms haven't been updated since September 2020.  I expect we may see an update to it soon.
    edited April 2021
  • Reply 55 of 66
    AppleZulu said:
    There should probably be more clarity with all this, but it doesn't seem as difficult as it's being made out to be.

    It has always been true that when purchasing copies of recorded content, music, motion pictures, books, etc., it's incumbent on the purchaser to store and maintain that content. For physical media, the seller's responsibility clearly ends when the buyer takes possession. Losing or damaging your physical copy does not create any requirements on the seller to replace it with a new copy, and they're not required to keep titles in stock, just in case. That's why there's a booming business on eBay, reselling out-of-print materials. Also, the seller is not required to replace your physical media for free should they issue an upgraded version. The accountants for the Beatles and Rolling Stones know this fact very well. The upgraded Let it Be will be available no CD, LP and BluRay for purchase everywhere this year, just in time for Christmas!

    In reality, it's not all that different for digital content. You can buy music and video on iTunes, download it and put it on whatever storage device you wish. Apple will probably still have it in stock in their library, too, and if so, you can re-download it again, if you like. It's always been pretty clear to me, however, that my purchase doesn't obligate them to keep it in their library in perpetuity. The owners of copyrighted content are always at liberty to pull it from a store if they don't want to sell it there any longer. This isn't clear to everyone, it seems, so maybe there could be better information provided. Of course, popping up a detailed legal disclaimer or agreement every time someone makes a purchase won't help much, either, because everybody clicks that stuff without reading it. So who knows what the answer is?
    The main difference between a physical purchase and a digital one is that a seller of physical goods can't demand that you hand back a physical purchase if they decide not to sell it anymore.  And a physical product should be replaced if it's found to be detective within a certain timeframe (usually 14 days) - otherwise what recourse does the consumer have if they're not able to play the media they've spent money on?  I had bad discs when I bought the complete Breaking Bad Blu-Ray set (because silly Sony put the discs in super scratchy cardboard holders).  I contacted Sony and they told me to deal with the retailer I bought it from.  Got my money back.  Sony eventually redesigned the packaging - eventually - and now everything is good.

    Yet, that can (and does) happen with digital purchases - all thanks to DRM.  For Apple (at least), the situation is all over the place.  A film/TV distributor can pull an item from being sold through iTunes/Apple TV, but still keep it in the library for download (and streaming).  But they could also do both - remove it from sale and from Apple's servers.  And Apple doesn't have to give the consumer any notice whatsoever.  So a 'purchase' through Apple's iTunes/Apple TV is effectively a gamble.  It's not a rental because at least with that you have a definite date on which the title will be pulled from your library. 

    I think the key object in all this - long term - is to ideally strengthen and improve the consumer rights to a digital asset.  At the moment it places the rights of the copyright owner far above that than it does the consumer. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 56 of 66
    mbdrake76 said: But it still mentions 'download' / 'redownload' and not 'streaming/playback' - unless Apple is using 'download' and 'redownload' as a general term for playing the content (by which the mechanism of delivery is considered irrelevant - after all, you still need to download the content from the server (in batches at least - with the potential to temporarily store it on the local device as part of a cache) to be able to play it).  This is where a judge/lawyer comes in handy.  

    It's also interesting that they use the word 'acquired' rather than 'bought' or 'purchased' - it's a catch-all term that can be applied to both rental and 'purchased' content.   The terms haven't been updated since September 2020.  I expect we may see an update to it soon.
    The last line... "Content may not be available for Redownload if that Content is no longer offered on our Services"...is the key. Apple is specifying that users agreeing to their terms and conditions can't expect "Content" to be available forever. So regardless of whether the user was expecting to stream, download, or redownload, they're always going to be limited by whether or not the rights holder of the content is still making it available through Apple Services. 
    mbdrake76
  • Reply 57 of 66

    mbdrake76 said: For Apple (at least), the situation is all over the place.  A film/TV distributor can pull an item from being sold through iTunes/Apple TV, but still keep it in the library for download (and streaming).  But they could also do both - remove it from sale and from Apple's servers.  And Apple doesn't have to give the consumer any notice whatsoever.  So a 'purchase' through Apple's iTunes/Apple TV is effectively a gamble.  It's not a rental because at least with that you have a definite date on which the title will be pulled from your library. 
    Provide an example of what you're talking about here. If you purchase (rather than rent) a film or tv show and then download it to a device, it won't matter whether the rights holder later removes it from sale through Apple. The copy is still going to play on your device. I think you may be confusing this with Apple Music, where you are allowed to download files to your device but they can be disabled if they're no longer available through Apple Music. It works that way because you were never "buying" them in the first place. The download was just a convenience feature. 
  • Reply 58 of 66
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 2,114member
    narwhal said:
    Your are under the obligation of downloading your purchased copy and store it in your possession.
    I don't believe Apple allows you to download 4K movies as a file. Maybe this was allowed for lower-res movies, but never for 4K, which Apple is always encouraging us to "buy." In my opinion, we buy the right to stream the content from Apple for the life of the company (Apple). If not, I want a refund of any content that disappears from their servers. The threat of having to refund money to consumers for content that vanishes should always hang over Apple's head to prevent this from happening.
    You know that prior to purchasing a 4K movie. Apple clearly states everywhere that 4K movies are not to "download" but to "stream". Content "disappearing" from Apple servers is mostly an issue beyond the control of Apple. If the movie producer withdraws the movie there is almost nothing you can do, the copyright law is so powerful. Where the copyright law and the consumer law conflict, the copyright law prevails.
    edited April 2021
  • Reply 59 of 66
    mbdrake76 said: But it still mentions 'download' / 'redownload' and not 'streaming/playback' - unless Apple is using 'download' and 'redownload' as a general term for playing the content (by which the mechanism of delivery is considered irrelevant - after all, you still need to download the content from the server (in batches at least - with the potential to temporarily store it on the local device as part of a cache) to be able to play it).  This is where a judge/lawyer comes in handy.  

    It's also interesting that they use the word 'acquired' rather than 'bought' or 'purchased' - it's a catch-all term that can be applied to both rental and 'purchased' content.   The terms haven't been updated since September 2020.  I expect we may see an update to it soon.
    The last line... "Content may not be available for Redownload if that Content is no longer offered on our Services"...is the key. Apple is specifying that users agreeing to their terms and conditions can't expect "Content" to be available forever. So regardless of whether the user was expecting to stream, download, or redownload, they're always going to be limited by whether or not the rights holder of the content is still making it available through Apple Services. 
    Indeed.  I don't think Apple has been as clear about this as other streaming providers.  I think it's too far buried.  I think they need to tighten up the language used and ensure that people are in no doubt that content may be pulled at any time, for any reason, without notice.
  • Reply 60 of 66

    mbdrake76 said: For Apple (at least), the situation is all over the place.  A film/TV distributor can pull an item from being sold through iTunes/Apple TV, but still keep it in the library for download (and streaming).  But they could also do both - remove it from sale and from Apple's servers.  And Apple doesn't have to give the consumer any notice whatsoever.  So a 'purchase' through Apple's iTunes/Apple TV is effectively a gamble.  It's not a rental because at least with that you have a definite date on which the title will be pulled from your library. 
    Provide an example of what you're talking about here. If you purchase (rather than rent) a film or tv show and then download it to a device, it won't matter whether the rights holder later removes it from sale through Apple. The copy is still going to play on your device. I think you may be confusing this with Apple Music, where you are allowed to download files to your device but they can be disabled if they're no longer available through Apple Music. It works that way because you were never "buying" them in the first place. The download was just a convenience feature. 
    You're right - I might have got a bit confused at that point.  It was very early morning, to be fair ;). Yep, the download will play regardless of whether the title is withdrawn from Apple's servers or not. 

    But I still say downloading an entire library of movies can be a massive pain in the rear end depending on what platform you primarily use.  I would suggest that Apple considers letting users backup movies and TV shows purchased to iCloud permanently, but this would require permission from the distributor, and Apple would need to offer enough space to do so.
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