back to article You know all those movies you bought from Apple? Um, well, think different: You didn't

Remember when you decided to buy, rather than rent, that movie online? We have some bad news for you – you didn't. Biologist Anders Gonçalves da Silva was surprised this week to find three movies he had purchased through iTunes simply disappeared one day from his library. So he contacted Apple to find out what had happened. …

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  1. Mark Exclamation

    OT, but I see the "Downvote-Everyone-Once" person is back. Seems they're having a fulfilling day as a result.

  2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Should be illegal

    It should be illegal to call it anything but a rental when permission-based DRM is involved. Downloading is NOT a solution for iTunes because permission to decrypt content must be re-granted from Apple on a regular basis.

    I will never pay more than a single-use price for DRM content.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iTunes

    Had something similar here: experienced a sudden drive failure a while back and *all* my data got trashed despite having two (!) forensic images of the old drive the replacement did not work and I could only access about 1/3 of the library including several films despite the files being intact.

    I did eventually find out that the problem mysteriously fixed itself about a week later, just as my other backup copy showed up on drive *3 (made in 2015) and fortunately this time all was well again.

    But having to use forensics tools to clone a drive because companies don't recognise a simple HDD swap with working OS is ridiculous.

    Why the $Deity Apple don't just let you burn your library to BD-R and authenticate it against the user account not the hardware I will never know. 30p per disk and they last 25 years minimum.

    Also relevant: some early Macbooks have the infamous motherboard fault where "good" drives will not show up yet the data is normally intact.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: iTunes

      "[...] and authenticate it against the user account not the hardware I will never know. 30p per disk and they last 25 years minimum.

      The weak link is then the authentication service or its agent on your current device. They are outside your control and can be changed or disappear.

      Nothing is immune to this passage of time. There is often a personal consequential loss when you are told "Sorry - we no longer stock/make those any more" - and the current equivalent requires you to scrap your perfectly adequate dependent system.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm turning into *that* guy.

    And here endeth the lesson, I predicted this when digital downloads started to take off and was told not to be silly, that you'd bought it, it wasn't going to be an issue and I was being paranoid by wanting physical media that contained an irrevocable copy.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: I'm turning into *that* guy.

      So there's two of us then!

    2. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: I'm turning into *that* guy.

      As a matter of principle, I will not "buy" anything that the other party has any remaining hook into / control over. Only stuff that as soon as it's in my hand you are no longer able to touch in any way shape or form - if I paid for it, you've lost any right to tell me what I can or cannot do with it from now on as far as I'm concerned, sorry. Don't worry, I don't intend to "distribute" it. The rest is none of your fucking concern, regardless what your ToS / EULA may or may not say.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear Apple

    When I bought my piece of iShit, I sent you some money for you to use (it was never going to sit on a shelf, was it?). I have now decided not to usee your iShit so I am taking my money back.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Old Ipods

    Are *still* being used because people don't care that the drive is fragile or for that matter batteries are not made any more and 1G iPads are often used for musicians and folks with disabilities.

    The big reason I try to avoid the iTax is because every time you think everything is working they kill another feature such as EwwTube on older iPads: by comparison my Android tablet (4.1.2) is still working fine albeit at only 576p and a bit jumpy. Seems to be working for now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Old Ipods

      Err, if youtube isn't working isn't that Google at fault?

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Old Ipods

      "Are *still* being used because people don't care that the drive is fragile or for that matter batteries are not made any more"

      There is a carrier card to use a Compact Flash card in the old drive based iPods and there are third party battery suppliers around. I have one, but I mostly use several 3rd gen iPods. I like the form factor and I have them loaded up with different stuff for different moods.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple vs oranges

    I'm no convinced this is the best case against Apple ever.

    Let's say, you go to buy groceries, put oranges in a bag, go to the cashier, pay for them, then leave them on the counter and go home. One year later, you come back, and complain that your oranges, fairly paid, are not there anymore. Wouldn't that be ridiculous?

    The notion that everything bought digitally will be forever available is wrong. He didn't download the movies, so what if Apple had folded? Or is it just assumed to be too big to fail? I've bought digital downloads from smaller companies, and I've not failed to fetch them immediately.

    Still, I *do* agree that there is a problem: in the same way the assistant would have called out for you to pick your bag of oranges, Apple definitely should have sent a warning message that the download would cease to be available soon.

    1. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: Apple vs oranges

      If Apple had folded he wouldn't have complained, as the reason would have been obvious.

      In this case the implication was that the movie was there in the cloud for him.

  8. The_H

    Legalised theft

    If an artiste - let's say Mike Goldfield - leaves his record label - WontGoAllTheWay Records - in a huff and signs to Pony Music, WontGoAllTheWay loses the rights to his future music. They can't create it; they can't sell it. That is fine.

    What it doesn't mean is that WontGoAllTheWay Records will then visit every record shop in the country, remove all unsold records, and then visit every house and remove every SOLD record too.

    Yet that is exactly what is happening here.

    It is theft. No ifs, no buts, no weasel words. (And don't bother pointing out the legal niceties of licensing; that's just another way of saying "extortion")

    1. Colin Wilson 2

      Re: Legalised theft

      "What it doesn't mean is that WontGoAllTheWay Records will then visit every record shop in the country, remove all unsold records, and then visit every house and remove every SOLD record too.

      Yet that is exactly what is happening here."

      To be fair to Apple (gulp!) it's not exactly what's happening here.

      If you buy a movie from ITunes and download it, the downloaded copy is linked to your Apple Id - so you can play it as long as Apple still exist, and you remember your Apple Id password. The Studio - or WontGoAllTheWay can't do anything to 'revoke' your already downloaded copy.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Legalised theft

      If an artiste - let's say Mike Goldfield - leaves his record label - WontGoAllTheWay Records - in a huff and signs to Pony Music,

      Actually, that would be PonyCanyon (and they can be right SOBs on their own too).

    3. wayward4now
      Headmaster

      Re: Legalised theft

      They've been that way since the old Apple ][ days. why should they up and change now??? Surprised?? I say HAHAHAHAHA to those of you not smart enough to learn from the past.

      "Criswell: Eddie, we're in show biz. It's all about razzle-dazzle. Appearances. If you look good, and you talk well, people will swallow anything. "

  9. Baudwalk

    You pretty much have to approach iTunes, Google Play, Steam, Xbox, PlayStation, …

    ... as you would Netflix and Spotify: You’re only renting the stuff.

    When buying apps on Google Play, I do so in the full knowledge they may (and some do) stop working at any time.

    But the prices have to match.

    That’s also why I only buy heavily discounted games for my son’s Xbox. Luckily, like me, he’s not into the latest multi-player FPS, so that’s never been an issue.

    Similarly, PC games I only buy from GOG.com. They don’t have the latest AAA titles, but I can find what *I* want to play. And I don’t have time to fit in on-line multi-player anyway, so DRM-free single player (or LAN/off-line multi-player) titles fit my needs perfectly.

    Funnily enough, when games are removed for sale from GOG, they’re still left in the libraries of those who bought them when GOG did have them for sale.

    1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      Re: You pretty much have to approach iTunes, Google Play, Steam, Xbox, PlayStation, …

      "Similarly, PC games I only buy from GOG.com."

      I thought that was a good plan, on the basis that I rarely see a bad GoG game.

      Plus much of my "free" time is on a train, which kind of puts a damper on most online gaming.

      Oh, and fellow students going "OMG, is that the original fallout" and I can say "kinda, it's Fallout 2 resto project, I used to play it a lot last millennium..."

  10. Duffaboy
    Trollface

    Please read the 500 odd

    pages of your T&C's as it is buried there in the very small print

    1. VikiAi Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Please read the 500 odd

      They use the font "Flyspeck" at 0.5 point.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    false advertisement

    queue the lawyers.

    Had this issue with Amazon and "RIO" years ago. You try to do the right thing and actually "pay" for content, and you get "scrooged".

    time for the Copy-Right to swing the other way. Buy = "own". You can't take that away.

    1. David Nash Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: false advertisement

      "Cue".

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    unless we went into stupid-land (which we maybe did when CERN LHC was swtich on), when i "buy" something, that means its mine and i can do whatever the f*ck i want with it.

    Apple should've used the word "rent" on its call-to-action button, so that users know exactly that they don't 'own' it.

    it seems to me that Apple made a legal misrepresentation. but i'm not a lawyer. just a nobody who cant make sense of the stupidity of copyright law and how it distinctly smells like an attempt to 'legally' deny my (what i thought were inaliable) rights to freedom to do whatever the f*ck i want to whatever the f*ck i own.

    1. gnasher729 Silver badge

      "it seems to me that Apple made a legal misrepresentation. but i'm not a lawyer. just a nobody who cant make sense of the stupidity of copyright law and how it distinctly smells like an attempt to 'legally' deny my (what i thought were inaliable) rights to freedom to do whatever the f*ck i want to whatever the f*ck i own."

      Only because the facts are being badly misrepresented.

      You buy the movie. Which gives you the right to download it, and keep it and play it forever. As a convenience, you can download the movie again, as long as Apple sells it. But that's just a convenience. You purchased the version that you downloaded. It's yours. Look after it. Don't throw it away as this guy did.

      (Now personally I think renting is much more cost effective, because I rarely watch the same movie four times, but that's a different matter).

  13. DemeterLast

    Always buy the disc, then rip

    For one-off movies, we always just rent them. Everything else is streamed. But for those things that we (meaning "the kids") want to watch over and over, I buy the disc and then rip it. The thing about a ripped digital movie is that you can say "I want to watch this" and then watch it. If you use the disc, DVD or BlueRay, you have to suffer through endless unskippable crap, wait for what seems like an interminable amount of time before the snazzy menu comes up so you can hunt around on the DVD remote for the right key that plays the movie. Half the time you're treated to two more unskippable warnings from the FBI about doing the very thing you're thinking about, which is getting rid of this dumb crap you don't need to see every time you watch Wreck-It Ralph.

    Compare that to open up Plex on the Roku box, use the world's simplest remote to navigate to what you want to watch, and then play it.

    Attention Hollywood! I'm more than willing to pay for entertainment. I do not want to be given a wedgie every time I use your product though. Thanks!

  14. DMcDonnell

    HDD space

    If you don't have at least 6 TB of HDD then you are doing something wrong. There is no good excuse now days about running out of storage space.

  15. Dog Eatdog
    FAIL

    Movies are Bigger than That

    " A DVD quality movie will typically run to around 4GB, and a Blu-ray movie to 7 or 8GB:"

    I think El Reg is getting its Blu-Ray confused with its dual-layer DVD.

    A Blu-Ray film is typically 15 GB to 30 GB and a DVD film up to about 8 GB.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You mean people still buy online movies?

    How quaint!

  17. JaitcH
    Meh

    Another Apple Rip Off - Avoid Problems and Use BitTorrent

    Anders Gonçalves da Silva should simply download copies from Alternative Sources.

    I live in a country where we can get few English language moves, unless you cross the border and buy copy CDs. Several Foreigners here have massive collections of movies and with our 100 Mbyte fibre optic feeds ($32/month) we waste little time downloading - hardly enough time to open a Tiger.

  18. DrM
    Thumb Up

    TPB!

    Torrents never steal from you. :-)

  19. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Disney again

    Disney disabled viewing purchased content during at least one holiday season so families would have to watch the movies on the Disney Channel with all of the commercials.

    I'm pretty sure I have Fantasia on laser disc. A bulky format, but no DRM.

    I'm happy to purchase audiobooks for download, but not from Amazon/Audible. It's a bad deal for authors and a rip off for consumers. I don't always agree with Cory Doctorow, but I love that his stuff is DRM free and he even gives some of it away. I can't always buy right away, but I do buy Cory's books when I have the money so he keeps writing. I buy cd's directly from artists/bands when they sell them at their shows. I often get the bonus of having them signed and they get to keep a larger portion (or a portion at all) from the sale.

  20. dave 93
    WTF?

    Apple could put a copy in your iCloud

    Apple could put a copy of a purchased movie into your iCloud automatically, if they know they will lose the rights at some future point. Am I missing something?

  21. RedCardinal

    Would be interesting to consider whether Apple's tocs on this (and how they market and sell the movies) comply with UK consumer protection and advertising laws.

  22. wayward4now
    Linux

    Apple??? scruum

    They screwed over their user base ever since the Apple ][ plus. We burnt eproms of the original ][ roms so they functioned as the Woz intended. You could hit reset and jump into the "mini-assembler", cop the memory to tape, reboot a standard floppy and copy the content of the tape to a binary disk file, which could be "brun" and you had what had been DRM protected as a nice clean file.

  23. born cynical
    FAIL

    On the other hand...

    Karma even bites Apple sometimes. I bought a song on iTunes which suddenly went silent mid-way through, and then the audio returned some time later. (Nope, not deliberate, unlike John Tesh's early classic 'Black Hole' track) When I contacted Apple they said that I could only have a refund. When I pressed them for the music instead, they finally admitted that the source data from the music library company that they got it from was faulty as well, and they had no way of getting the actual original content directly. In an ironic world, then that refund would have been used to purchase John Cage's 4'33'', but I resisted the temptation...

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