Perhaps you've heard a story like this:
"Apple's" buy "button is a shame because Apple has the right to remove movies from your iTunes library after you buy them If Disney decides it no longer wants to offer a particular movie in your country, your purchase is no better than an extended rental. Only Blu-ray and DVD are safe. "
Here's the case: Some of it may be true . But the story of disappearing digital copies is not. Or at least it is much more complicated than that.
Although his tweets became viral and even though he spoke to Apple Support, he did not actively delete or delete the "movies" that disappeared from Dr. Anders Gonçalves da Silva's iTunes library and his devices. It seems to have been a more complicated mix, based on the fact that Silva moved from one country to another.
Most importantly, Apple tells CNET that it will not delete your movies. At least not the ones you've downloaded.
The twitter that started everything
It's not surprising that the original tweet storm caught fire:
It's hard not to be furious with an apparent tone deaf letter like the one above. "A customer bought these films, they are gone, and he only gets a few rent in return?"
But take a closer look at Silvas tweet and something interesting is happening. Apple Support thinks he's in Canada, while Silva's Twitter profile and LinkedIn show he's from Australia. There is a fairly large geographical difference.
When we came to Silva, he made the difference: He moved to Canada about nine months ago, after who bought the films in Australia. Not only are there two separate countries, there are two separate iTunes Store regions. Perhaps Canada can not offer these movies anymore, and it did not allow him to access them at their new location?
The case is, the three titles – Cars, Cars 2 and The Grand Budapest Hotel, according to Da Silva – are still available for purchase in both Australia and Canada, confirmed CNET. He could buy new "Canada" copies right now. So why is his "Australia" copy gone?
And it does not seem to be a question of Australian purchases that do not work in Canada either. "I've made other purchases in Australia, using the same Australian iTunes account, which works perfectly," Silva told CNET.
In general, you can take iTunes purchases with you when you travel, even though Apple's fine print contains a warning if it disappears:
But there is another possibility: Perhaps then Silva still has access to the Australian versions of these films, but not the Canadian?
It was absolutely what Apple seemed to be hinting when we asked the company about it this weekend. Apple said:
"Any movies you've already downloaded can be enjoyed at any time and will not be deleted unless you have chosen to do so. If you change your country setting, some movies may not be available for to download from the movie store if the version you purchased is not available in the new country. If necessary, you can change the country setting back to your previous country to download these movies. "
Certainly, Apple's statement does not say what happened to Silva's movies, or admit that Apple Support may have made a mistake when analyzing the original response. But it is clear that the company does not delete movies without your permission – and that you will be able to download movies from your "previous country" if they are not available in the new one.
Two possible sinners
More likely, the phrase "about version " you did not buy available "talks about what actually happened here. Few movies have a single version sold all over the world. For a number of reasons, a movie can be trimmed in one country to get a more thorough assessment (say, PG-13 in the United States), or to cut politically or culturally sensitive content. And it does not even count board members, where several versions of the same movie can be sold in the same region.
The other problem is that "regional hopping", a common tactic among movie lovers all over the world to get earlier or different versions of movies, becomes harder and harder. So, although someone has legally moved from one region to another, such as Dr. da Silva, he may be punished by the digital walls that sellers like Apple, Amazon continues to increase to close the loophole loophole. (Amazon, Vudu and other digital content retailers have the same type of contracts with the studios Apple does.)
These films can actually be stored in Silva Australia's account – but he can not easily switch back to the Australian region to download them again.
When we asked him to try, he sent us this photo:
Apple generally requires customers to have a local credit card or PayPal account on file, which usually means that he also needs a local billing address. Since he lives in Canada, not Australia, it's a bit difficult – but then Silva says that Apple Support is promising to send him a solution.
But even the solution is not very user-friendly. To return to the Australian store, then Silva must lose his Canadian retail subscriptions and save credits, he says. (Apple's support page suggests the same.) And if he wants to return to the Canadian store, he must download them to a Mac or iOS device and use them as a local server to stream them to his Apple TV.
What We Still Do not Know
The reason why Silva lacks movies got so much attention: they apparently showed that Apple would not stand with its customers if the studios tried to pull their movies. We now know that it's too early to say something like that.
To be ready, the ability to buy or rent movies on services like iTunes and Amazon already fluctuates according to studio windows. But even if a movie you can buy on iTunes becomes unavailable to buy for a few weeks – or months – it stays available in the cloud of those customers who bought it when it was sold.
At least, it has worked so far. We can not be sure what will happen if Disney or other content providers – "remembers" a digital purchase, as a publisher did with an. It seems that your movies that have already been downloaded are safe, but what about cloud-based movies you just streamed? Apple does not say.
We may have to cross the bridge when we get to it. As for Silva, he now admits that his situation was a bit of a thing:
"I fell into a licensing crack, it works."