When you buy a movie through iTunes, you don't actually own it. And that's a problem.
In Sacramento, California, Apple is about to stand trial. Here's the issue at hand. You know all those times you "bought" movies on iTunes? Well, because of the way Apple licenses films from studios, you never really own them. You actually have rented them at a higher fee, for a longer time.
And that has consumers pretty upset.
David Andino is the lead plaintiff in this case. He alleges Apple reserves the right to terminate access to any movie you "purchase." And that they do this on regular occasions. He wants them to stop telling people they have "bought" things when they really have not.
The judge in the case is U.S. District Court Judge John Mendez. And so far, he's put Apple to the test, wondering why they think consumers should expect that buying digital movies is not owning them.
"Apple contends that '[n]o reasonable consumer would believe' that purchased content would remain on the iTunes platform indefinitely," writes Mendez. "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."
Apple's argument is simple. They don't feel Andino and other consumers have been "injured" by the actions.
In the judge's words: "Apple argues that Plaintiff’s alleged injury—which it describes as the possibility that the purchased content may one day disappear—is not concrete but rather speculative."
He continued, "[T]he injury Plaintiff alleges is not, as Apple contends, that he may someday lose access to his purchased content. Rather, the injury is that at the time of purchase, he paid either too much for the product or spent money he would not have but for the misrepresentation. This economic injury is concrete and actual, not speculative as Apple contends, satisfying the injury in fact requirement of Article III."
If you're interested in reading the entire claim, head over to The Hollywood Reporter.
I know legal jargon can be a little boring, but this is a landmark case in our time. As things move to digital, and things like DVDs and Blu-rays phase out, consumers are going to want to be able to access their favorite films. They want to buy them and have them always. I don't want to subscribe to a bunch of streamers and search every time I want to pull something up.
We'll keep you updated on where this case goes!
Let us know what you think in the comments.