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Hey, Apple! What Do You Mean I Don’t “Own” My Movies?

If you purchased a movie from iTunes thinking you actually own it, turns out you're wrong.

I own a lot of DVD’s.

A LOT of DVD’s.

When VHS died off and DVD’s actually became affordable, it was like manna from heaven for me. Just imagine: being able to actually OWN all of your favorite movies and TV shows! To be able to watch whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted. For me, it was the greatest invention EVER. My childhood would have been completely different if my parents could have popped a DVD into the car player to entertain me during those 13 hour car rides. Over the last 20 or so years, I have compiled a massive collection that I kept stored in my basement on racks. People who I allowed into my “vault” were amazed. My next door neighbor called me her own personal Blockbuster. It was awesome.

Until this Summer when I had to start packing them all up into boxes (and boxes and boxes) in preparation for my move. The biggest question I get asked is “Where are you gonna put all your STUFF?” I actually purchased a 4 bedroom house for me and the cats just so that I would have an extra room to put all the books, DVD’s and other junk I’ve accumulated. So, for the last few weeks I’ve come to the conclusion that A) I have WAY too much stuff and B) maybe I need to start buying digital movies instead.

Now, I’m rethinking that again. Reports are circulating that iTunes has been deleting movies that people purchased – not rented but BOUGHT – from their video libraries. And when these customers complained to Apple? They were told that Apple is just a “storefront” and if the studio decides not to allow the movie you bought to stay on iTunes, then you’re just out of luck. Apple is not even issuing refunds to outraged customers.

Apple did issue a statement that “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 reality is, this is not news. I’m sure if you comb through the 80 page “terms and conditions” letter at the iTunes store, this is all spelled out for you. And the reality has always been that if Apple went bankrupt (or Amazon for that matter) all of that data you have stored in “the cloud” would vanish. So, if you’ve purchased any digital content and you don’t want to lose it, you need to download it somewhere. Which is a daunting task for those who have hundreds of digital movies.

As for me, I guess I’ll stick to good, old-fashioned DVD’s and Blu-rays. That way, I never have to worry about them vanishing overnight. I can loan them to friends, and sell them if I ever get tired of them.

I just might have to buy a bigger house.

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