According to Apple, “no reasonable consumer would believe” that media purchased from iTunes would belong to them permanently.
Apple has issued a legal argument to defend its right to strip you of your own iTunes content after you have bought it. There are currently two class action lawsuits underway in the United States that have brought the issue to light.
In one, reported by Ars Technica, the lead plaintiff Matthew Price had his Apple ID deleted, thereby losing access to the $24,590 worth of iTunes content that he had purchased on the platform.
Another putative class action suit was disclosed by The Hollywood Reporter, and it directly challenges Apple’s distinction between the words ‘Buy’ and ‘Rent’ on the iTunes store, which are arguably misleading since content that it bought can be later withdrawn.
US District Court Judge John Mendez appeared sympathetic to the plaintiffs’ arguments, writing: “Apple contends that ‘no reasonable consumer would believe’ that purchased content would remain on the iTunes platform indefinitely. But in common usage, the term ‘buy’ means to acquire possession over something. It seems plausible, at least at the motion to dismiss stage, that reasonable consumers would expect their access couldn’t be revoked.”
Of course this issue of consumers’ rights to own digital content touches upon far more companies than just Apple alone; a similar lawsuit is facing Amazon Prime as well, for instance. But the question affect all of us who have purchased digital media in good faith, only to discover to our horror that it is not nearly as secure as our stacks of CDs and DVDs back from the days when physical media reigned supreme.
What do you think about the controversy? Should rights to digital media be considered similar to those of physical products, or is it unreasonable to expect the same standards of ownership to apply? Let us know what you think in the poll below.