The Internet flips with: "Apple can remove your movies at any time." No, Apple does not remove movies that people have bought through iTunes, but the headline of a man with mysteriously missing films underlines how objectionable the international licensing for movies is.
Stream movies from iTunes
This is the back: Anders G da Silva shared his experience on Twitter. Some of the films that he purchased through iTunes disappeared from his streaming library. Apple's response was that the content provider removed these films from the Canadian store, which is why these movies are currently unavailable in the iTunes Store of Canada. "
Me: Hey Apple, three films I bought disappeared from my iTunes library. Apple: Oh yes, they are no longer available. Thank you for purchasing. Here are two movie rentals on us! Me: Wait … WHAT ?? @ Tim cooks when was this acceptable? pic.twitter.com/dHJ0wMSQH9
Apple offered him a few free rental films, which did not seem a real comfort, as the now missing films were paid.
The conclusion that people put forward was that every movie you purchase through iTunes can be removed at any time without warning or compensation. It turns out there is more going on and Apple does not simply remove movies from your iTunes shopping list.
Missing information is missing from iTunes movies
First, the films have only disappeared in the iTunes library of da Silva. Because the chance that he is the only person who ever bought these films is extremely low, we should have heard from many people complaining, just like he did.
Secondly, a critical piece of information was missing when the report on missing films first circulated: da Silva had recently moved from Australia to Canada (via CNET). He bought the films in Australia and it seemed that he had different license terms in Canada.
Different license terms can mean different versions of a movie or, for whatever reason, be blocked for display in specific countries. Because da Silva tried to stream movies that he bought in Australia while in Canada, they were blocked.
The case for DVD and Blu-ray movies
Eventually, Apple takes care of da Silva so that he can keep his films. The big takeaway here is that media licenses are a hot mess. Region blocking was a big headache when DVDs were the big thing, and now we see a version of it with digital film buying.
Downloading a digital purchase means that you have the movie and it will not disappear from your library. However, if iTunes checks the license when you play it, you may still be locked.
That makes physical film purchases pretty convincing. You buy the DVD or Blu-ray and it works without worries about changing licenses. That presupposes, of course, that you have a drive that matches the region code for your player.
The real solution is to change licensing from region to world, but that will not happen soon. It seems that film studios are happy to take our money, but do not worry about keeping us happy.