Apple Hit With VOD Ownership Lawsuit

Originally published on Dark Horizons by Garth Franklin

One issue that has been floating around for years is how much does one actually own digital video content they’ve purchased. Now, Apple is reportedly facing a putative class action that could impact the way digital film and TV releases are sold.

THR reports that a U.S. federal judge has rejected a motion to dismiss a case the tech giant is facing over the way consumers can “buy” or “rent” movies, TV shows and other content in the iTunes Store.

David Andino, the lead plaintiff in this case, alleges Apple reserves the right to terminate access to what consumers have “purchased,” and in fact, has done so on numerous occasions. This is reportedly often due to licensing issues or regional rights and can be done without warning.

In his statement rejecting the motion to dismiss this week, U.S. District Court Judge John Mendez says:

“Apple contends that ‘[n]o reasonable consumer would believe’ that purchased content would remain on the iTunes platform indefinitely. 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.”

The lawsuit reportedly leaves open the possibility of injunctive relief that could force Apple to change the way it sells content – either usage of the term ‘buy’ or ‘rent’, or adding clauses to their Terms & Conditions informing consumers they’re not really buying what they’re ‘buying’. Amazon is also reportedly facing a similar lawsuit over Prime Video purchases.

Source: THR Esq

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