In the world of digital ownership, there’s a fine line between ‘buy’ and ‘rent’

After a man’s tweetstorm over Apple removing 3 purchased movies from his iTunes went viral, the age-old debate over user-license terms is once again awoken.


September 19, 2018

Last week, Anders Goncalves da Silva let loose a tweetstorm recounting the time Apple deleted 3 purchased movies from his iTunes account.

After the tweet flurry went viral, Apple offered da Silva 2 free 48-hour movie rentals for his trouble, which is, truly, so sweet. 

But, if you pay $20 apiece to “buy” movies instead of $5 for renting… 

Shouldn’t you have control over your purchase?

Da Silva’s tweets sent a shockwave across the platform, but the spat over digital ownership has been long contested.

While it’s fair some content may be unavailable for sale on a country-to-country basis (da Silva lives in Canada), it definitely seems… less than fair for digital retailers like Apple and Amazon to straight up nix content from a consumer’s cinema treasure chest after purchase for seemingly no reason at all.

It’s not fair, it’s business

Since the beginning of digital time, companies like Apple have had a “licensed, not sold” clause buried deep within its 7k-word license terms that denies consumers the right of possession, use, and transfer with ownership. 

In it, they address “deleted services,” and spoiler alert, they “reserve the right” to take your sh*t. The problem is, studies show that “Buy” buttons have proven to mislead consumers over the extent of their ownership.

Da Silva’s suggested update? 

Label the button “Feelin Lucky?” instead.

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