A common fear about digital ownership has come to pass for one customer who found that three bought movies were missing from his iTunes library. Apple has refused to refund him. However, there are unanswered questions.
Apple iTunes is upgrading your movies to 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos free of charge but the movie store can also delete movies from your library without warning. That is the dark side of digital “ownership”.
Twitter user Anders da Silva has one such experience to report. He has shared two emails from Apple iTunes customer support, documenting how iTunes has deleted three of his movies due to the content provider having removed these movies from the Canadian store. The studio in question and the titles of the movies are not known.
When Anders asked for a refund, Apple refused. The company is instead offering rental credit for iTunes movies, adding that iTunes is merely “a store front that gives content provider a platform or a place to sell their items”. Apple referred to the terms and conditions but regardless of the legal texts, iTunes uses the term ‘buy’ as opposed to ‘rent’ or ‘license’ when approaching consumers. His tweets have since gone viral.
In the wake of this case, several users have pointed out that a significant portion of their bought 4K movies over the last couple of days have been downgraded to HD resolution on iTunes . However, this appears to be a glitch ahead of the Dolby Atmos roll-out on Monday. While maintaining our iTunes list of movies, we have noticed several movies being downgraded to HD temporarily – usually for 1-7 days – only to reappear shortly after in 4K HDR – and sometimes Dolby Atmos. Some of the latest examples include Predator, Die Hard, and Pan.
Me: Hey Apple, three movies I bought disappeared from my iTunes library. Apple: Oh yes, those are not available anymore. Thank you for buying them. Here are two movie rentals on us! Me: Wait... WHAT?? @tim_cook when did this become acceptable? pic.twitter.com/dHJ0wMSQH9
At this time, we only have the information that was shared on twitter, so exact details are not clear. Yesterday, FlatpanelsHD reached out to Anders da Silva but has not heard back. Apple has not responded to our request for comment either.
In the past, there have been several cases of movies or content disappearing permanently or temporarily from the iTunes store but content usually remains available in users’ libraries. For example, FlatpanelsHD purchased some Pixar Shorts for testing purposes way back in 2011. These are no longer available on iTunes but we can still stream and download them from our iTunes account. In parts of Europe, Apple also stopped selling the extended versions of The Lords of the Rings but these movies remain available in users’ libraries.
So why have Anders’ movies disappeared entirely? Only Apple knows and the company remains silent. We will update this article if we receive a response.