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Apple didn't delete that guy's movies – what really happened (cnet.com)
129 points by evo_9 on Sept 16, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 126 comments

While it is interesting to read more of the root cause, the tone of this article is surprisingly pro-Apple to my ears. No, they didn't delete his movies, but they did introduce a technical limitation to prevent him from accessing content that they told him he was buying because of details of media licencing.

This isn't something a reasonable member of the public would expect, and the UX and customer service paths he experienced did not help him understand or try to make him whole, they dismissed his concerns.

It's not something an uninformed person would reasonably expect, but neither is it Apple's fault that corporate copyright holders insist on Byzantine region-locking (to protect possible per-region licensee differences, maybe?)

If the fellow owns any movies on blu-ray or DVD and buys a new player, he'll be delighted to discover that those are also hosed.

Apple has taken full responsibility for this by acting as the seller of a product. If I sell you a washing machine and it breaks for whatever reason under statutory warranty, I am responsible. No hiding behind “yeah but the producer wants to make more money off you so it’s not really my fault.”

You take responsibility for what you sell in B2C. If you’re not happy, take it up with your suppliers. Or the law. Or Santa Claus for all I care.

This is a vital part of our market rules. Otherwise people would never stop pointing fingers.

(I want to add: it’s also true morally. Even if this is not strictly legally their responsibility, moral responsibility is assumed all the same. This is why we blame apple; they can’t have their cake and eat it too. There was this cartoon of a villain who copied the power of every hero he met. When he met Superman it all seemed lost; surely noone could defeat him now? In the world’s hour of truth, the Batman approaches with kryptonite, and he buckles. “He could not copy our strengths without copying our weaknesses.” So it is with Apple and Hollywood.)

Thank you for pointing this out. I wish more people understood this point. It happens to be the same reason that Amazon can't just say "sorry, we don't take any responsibility for the suppliers of solar eclipse glasses that we sell on our website." As a reseller, you have to take responsibility for the products you sell. Here's another example:

Let's say supplier A produces a part used by manufacturer B, who produces a final product sold to consumers through retailer C. If A was negligent and produced a defective part that causes harm/malfunction in the final product, it would be complete chaos to drag all of those parties into court in a single case (it may not even be obvious to retailer C or the customer that the product's failure is related to A's part).

To sort things out legally (assuming the problem makes it to the court system), the customer fights their case against C. C may or may not understand why the product they sell is defective, but if they believe it to be B's fault, they can file a separate case against B. And B can then file a case against A.

In the end, the legal system can find the party who is ultimately responsible and hold them accountable, but it doesn't work for B or C to say "sorry, this isn't our fault because we're just selling something that includes A's defective part".

Leadership is (or should be) similar: if an employee screws up, it's still the CEO's problem and responsibility. Internally, that CEO can hold a manager accountable, and that manager can hold the employee accountable, but that responsibility doesn't end just because it's assumed by a higher level.

I don't know. Is Apple actually selling it? Or do they just provide the marketplace and the payment gateway (bankcard charging services)?

By that logic, if I buy a DVD at the checkout of Marks & Spencer on my summer holidays before returning to the states, I get to the US to find out it won't work in the DVD player here, should I be annoyed at Marks & Spencer for not posting a sign that explains media regions?

Yes. Region locks are a fabricated limitation, just another way for Hollywood to extract money from the consumer. You should be annoyed with Marks & Spencer’s for playing ball. Because while one drop might not turn the tide, eventually the dam breaks and some retailer somewhere will find a way and sell unlocked DVD players.

Effecting change in society is an exercise in finding the right pressure point. Hollywood doesn’t care about our feelings on region locks. Sellers do. Put the incentive in the right spot and watch the stars align. A well leveraged arm cannot be overturned.

One benefit of region locks is its crude ability to charge people based on their level of wealth, allowing more people to share in the experience. I've been to national parks in some countries that charge more if you have a passport from a richer country than if you have a passport from a poorer country, which I think is a noble effort to be a little more egalitarian with the distribution of resources. Obviously, not everyone from a poor country is poor and vice versa, but in the absence of a better method it sort of works.

However, I'm not sold on region locks for media that has zero marginal cost to reproduce, nor am I sold on selling someone something and then revoking access to it based on their locale.

You remind me of the last time I drove past Stonehenge in England. It's been paid entry for a long time but I found it surprising to discover tourists get a cheaper rate. It was a flat change though, not dependant on country.

Not only that, by GP's logic Marks & Spencers would somehow be obliged to get you a US region coded DVD of that movie (whether the actual rights holder ever released it or not!).

To be clear: I absolutely hate the ridiculous licensing policies of the movie studios, but they're clearly not Marks & Spencer's fault, or Apple's, for that matter.

It is Marks & Spencers responsibility, even if there's nothing they could have done differently. You're their customer. In this scenario, when the DVD they sold you didn't work the way you wanted it to, they are the ones you should complain to, and they should give you a refund.

Yes, it's their responsibility. And that's why they put a media region lock sticker on the box of the DVD. (And usually it's also printed on the labeled side of the disk.)

Legally, Marks & Spencer must put this restriction into their contract with the customer. And of course these are sometimes implied contracts. Very much based on jurisdiction, case law, etc.

I'm not talking about law, I'm talking about what customers should expect from merchants. Even if there's some fine print somewhere that says otherwise, I expect the thing I bought from a merchant to work for me, and if it doesn't, I expect my money back. If neither of these things happens, I'll no longer be a customer of that merchant.

I don't think this is actually true. In many cases on packaging for items I've purchased they explicitly state "Do not return this to the store, return to the manufacturer."

It's also not true for Car Dealerships (recalls) and Large Appliances that aren't from major Box Stores.

So yes take it up with suppliers, but your claim that the middleman (Apple in this case) is de-facto responsible, isn't nearly universal.

Law trumps whatever sellers say. In the EU, B2C sellers have to comply with regulation that more or less say “once you’re the middle man, you stay the middle man”


”Guarantees and returns

Under EU rules, a trader must repair, replace, reduce the price or give you a refund if goods you bought turn out to be faulty or do not look or work as advertised.

If you bought a good or a service online or outside of a shop (by telephone, mail order, from a door-to-door salesperson), you also have the right to cancel and return your order within 14 days, for any reason and with no justification.”

Having said that, sellers are allowed to outsource required support, so I don’t see how products saying the manufacturer will cover repairs and warranties is in conflict with those rules, as long as those manufacturers actually provide the services law requires.

And of course, nothing guarantees consumers will get what they are entitled to, but having the law on their side won’t hurt and may help.

Service industry. More and more things become a lot more complex than just a once in the past transaction of money for a gadget. (It never was that simple, mind you, but at least the responsibility of fit for a purpose, some kind of warranty and so on was clear, that it was the seller's.)

Now as people sell services that include access to 3rd party content (movies), the things become complicated.

That said, I think it's good that the users demand simplicity with regards to responsibility assignment.

When Apple sells an app on their store, and the app doesn't work, people understand that it's not Apple's fault.

But that's because the communication is clear. Whereas with media content Apple provides iTunes or Apple Music or the appropriate program and service, and so it's reasonable for end users to demand that Apple make good on its implied promises.

>If I sell you a washing machine and it breaks for whatever reason under statutory warranty, I am responsible.

Eh? This never happens. It's always "Product is under manufacturer warranty. Go contact them".

In Australia under our consumer laws the retailer cannot force you to go to the manufacturer. You can if you choose, but they can't force you to.

Sure it does. Get loud, ask what value the seller provides, all while suggesting to anyone nearby purchases made here are dubious at best.

They will deal. Always do.

Yes, doing that is not nice, but neither is inane profit seeking and finger pointing.

To the obvious naysayers, I know that kind of thing is unpleasant.

What do you do? Just take it?

I will, if money is not really an issue. But when it is? No way.

Serious query, I will read with interest :D

>What do you do? Just take it?

Take what? You have a manufacturer warranty. Contact the manufacturer. Don't take it out on the store. It's really that simple. In all my years of buying stuff that was under manufacturer warranty, I have never had a problem with the manufacturer honoring their warranty.

There's nothing to "take". The store has a return policy. If you are within that policy, they take the item back (or exchange, or whatever). Beyond that, just deal with the manufacturer.

Oh no. If the seller, represented it that way, sure.

When they don"t, and at those times they are asking dollars for implied value, they need to either earn it, or quit making those representations.

To their credit many have, I will no longer buy from them.

The few that still do tend to get this right.

I have had few incidents in the last decade. The 90's and lesser degree 00's were particularly bad.

It's a fault in their UI and UX design. They could say e.g. "The Australian version of movie X is not available to download in your current region (Canada) due to licensing limitations. You may still download your purchase from within the Australia region."

I 90% agree with this.

The other 10% realizes that if you had warnings and waivers for every fringe case, you'd have the worst UI in the world and had a worse UX for 99.9% of the people it didn't apply to.

Do you want them to disclose it won't work in Taiwan? Timbuktu? That you'd have to agree to GDPR if you went to Europe? How about warnings that this format may not be viewable in 20 years due to technical or regulatory shifts?

I sympathize with the original person's situation, but as a consumer of media that's frequently geo-locked (I'm from Canada), I blame copyright holders for the situation.

And frankly, it's garbage like this that turns people to pirated media.

It's definitely dealing in edge-cases, and I think there's a middle-ground where you make sure people are aware of the edge-case conditions they're approaching, without necessarily irritating people to whom they don't apply.

So on the one hand, making it clear what the region you're buying into actually is would be really nice, and on the other hand (as suggested) making it clear when you've crossed into an edge case and there are things in you're account that you're about to lose access to, or that you might expect to see but can't, would make resolving this kind of issue much easier. And wouldn't bother the 99% of people who haven't switched their account region after "buying" something.

> Apple's fault that corporate copyright holders insist on Byzantine region-locking

Yes, it is their fault that they tolerate the behaviour on their storefront.

What else are they supposed to do?

Show a big fat dialog before changing your region: "After changing your payment method to a different country you will no longer be able to download the following movies: .... Would you like to download them before switching?"

> Show a big fat dialog

They do show a warning. Not exactly what you describe, but it’s there in essence.

They provide a vague warning that something might happen. They should warn you specifically what will actually happen.

> They should warn you specifically what will actually happen.

Should they do a better job? You betcha! But I don’t think it’s possible to tell you exactly what will happen in a good UX. One major reason is because distribution rights change all the time, today you might not lose streaming switching from country X to Y, but after switching today, you might lose streaming rights tomorrow.

Refuse to play.

Yeah, do people expect a small startup like Apple Inc. to be able to just say no? Do people think this is a trillion dollar company or something? What a ridiculous idea!

> It's not something an uninformed person would reasonably expect

Nor is it something an informed person should tolerate.

Apple hold some responsibility here.

Remember back when almost no labels would sell Music digitally, and kept blaming piracy on kids?

Apple had enough leverage then to force many labels into agreements.

They definitely have enough leverage today to force global licensing of movies sold through their store.

It is apple (and any other store) fault that limitation is not clearly stated up front. They play along and keep calling it "buy".

Stores keep using slightly misleading words, because people are more likely to buy then if they used slightly more accurate wording. Then we blame users for acting based on what they were told.

> They play along and keep calling it "buy".

This wasn't remotely deleted from his devices. What happened here was that he (reasonably) expected to be able to download another copy from Apple, and found out he couldn't. "Buy" doesn't mean "host it for me online forever". It was reasonable for him to expect to be able to do this, but it's not unreasonable for Apple to use the word "buy".

Exactly. Suppose he switched to a Windows PC and now complains that he can't re-download the movie from the Windows Store (or whatever the equivalent is called). That would be unjustified.

(However, he could move the music he had purchased from Apple and still had on his computer to his new Windows machine, unless I am mistaken, as they're not DRM'd. Not sure about movies.)

> "Buy" doesn't mean "host it for me online forever".

These online storefronts promise a service that's a combination of buying something and having them store the master copy so you can always access it from your devices.

You'd be upset if someone rummaged around your safe deposit locker and removed a DVD that you had purchased, right? Even though you're not handling that copy yourself, you expect it to be protected and accessible as long as the safe deposit lockers exist.

It's possible to carefully keep track of copies on your hard drive. But those are all secondary copies, far more ephemeral than a physical disc. There's nothing dumb about letting them be deleted when the master copy is still being promised to you. It's just unfortunate trust.

> "Buy" doesn't mean "host it for me online forever".

Yes, it does!

That is precisely the problem. My grandmother was born in 1939. Apple tells her that she can "buy" her copy of the Andrews Sisters Greatest Hits, and after she "buys" it she can play it on her iPhone whenever she wants.

If Apple was truthful and said, "you can sort of rent a copy of this album, unless someone you never meet makes a decision you'll never hear about, and then it might disappear. Oh, and also, you're really rolling the dice if you travel to another country," then they wouldn't have gotten my grandmother's money.

Apple is taking advantage of misleading language, telling my grandmother she can "buy" this music, when for the first 70 years of her life "buy" meant "it's yours forever unless you decide to get rid of it".

When you "buy" your music from Apple, you don't choose where to download your single copy of it, make sure you have storage, and back it up to tape for safe-keeping. Apple explicitly tells you that you can "buy" your music and "it's stored in the cloud (ooohh aaaahh it's magic). Instantly available on all your devices."

Yes, I understand that this abuse is industry-wide. That doesn't make it right. If they had tried this shit 40 years ago they'd have been on the losing end of several lawsuits. Trying to tell my 80 year old grandmother, "Ackshually, you didn't buy this music, you bought a license to this music, and we decided to revoke it because reasons. Would you like to buy the 2018 remastered edition and hope that we don't decide to do this again?" should make them liable for bait-and-switch and truth-in-advertising lawsuits.

I didn't expect my argument to take this turn, but I think this is a good example for why 80 year olds vote for Trump. Our "greed is good" hyper-capitalist society has practically weaponized taking advantage of people. They don't really understand what's going on, but they do understand that they're getting screwed, and they're angry about it, so they follow the people on TV who seem to be as angry as they are.

>Yes, it does!

So if I buy a DVD from Wal-Mart, should they also be forced to give me another copy of the DVD if mine gets scratched or lost? Or is it my responsibility to take care of the things I've purchased and keep them safe?

Your potentially scratchable DVD is exactly a thing you spend your money on at Wal-Mart.

With Apple, you don't spend your money on anything physical. You explicitely spend it on a service provided for you that allows you to redownload the file whenever you want.

Any exceptions to that should be clear from the start, not buried in a small font somewhere in the ToS.

That is not what happened. That analogy is simply wrong.

>> "Buy" doesn't mean "host it for me online forever". > Yes, it does!

No it doesn't. Buy means, it's yours, and in the future it will be still be yours. "Subscribe" or "Subscription" probably would be a more exact term. "Now it's yours but in the future who knows".

If you buy a song from iTunes, you download your copy of it, and it is yours forever unless you decide to get rid of it.

The change is that, in addition, you can generally download more copies. The limitations on this may be inadequately explained, but this is all on top of what you'd get if you 'bought' 40 years ago.

I was with you right up until you mentioned Trump.

Apple needs to do a better job at explaining this issue. I know several people who buy from the iTunes Store and assume that their purchases will forever be available for them to download.

Apple should probably give people the option of backing up their purchases to their iCloud account. It would increase the usefulness of iCloud.

It's probably worth noting that. CNET is part of CBS Interactive (CBS Corporation), and very much has a stableful of horses in this race.

A conflict of interest not noted in the article.

The insanity of international copyright law has turned a lot of people into basically just ignoring the laws which is 100% justified, reasonable and morally sound in my opinion. It is not the consumer's fault that politicans are too inept in understanding the current century we live in, it is not the consumers fault that politicans are too corrupt to bring copyright law into this century.

One of the creative ways of digital self defense is https://unogs.com/ it lists all content on netflix and in which region it is available. This way you can use a VPN service and actually fully use Netflix as the service it was intended to be and you've been payed for properly.

And for that matter it is not the corporations fault for exploiting all laws to the greatest extend possible either, don't anthropomorphize corporations, they are not moral agents, they are soulless thoughtless profit maximization machines it is the fault of politicians and the population who voted for them, to not regulating them properly.

> And for that matter it is not the corporations fault for exploiting all laws to the greatest extend possible either,

It's not like the laws just sprang up out of nowhere. Those same corporations wrote many of the laws via lobbyists and got them passed by legislators who were either too ignorant or disinterested to think through the ramifications.

I am a big believer in paying for content id like to see more of. I can both pay for content and pirate the shit out of it.

Considering most hollywood movies are interchangeable (the scripts are all written from the same manual anyway), my solution is to not actually purchase anything. If it's on Netflix or HBO, it's fine, otherwise I don't bother. Same for music, if it's streamed somewhere, fine, otherwise no. I get blu rays for really good movies, but they are so rare it ends up very cheap.

When they come up with a guarantee that I can access my digital purchases forever from any corner of the world or solar system, then I'll consider buying digitally from the movie/music industry.

> the scripts are all written from the same manual anyway

I bet you mean "Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need", its such a cancerous guide.

Looks like people are taking offense to me saying that all hollywood movies are the same. If you can watch the same superhero movie 30 times (with different skins and superhero names), power to you. I can't any more.

Maybe you just don't like superhero movies. There are, in fact, other movies that have been made.

Books are someone's fanfic that someone else liked enough to publish. Scripts are similar.

Most stories are written around the same small groups:

- Single protagonist

- Duo or buddies

- 3 person team (heavy hitter, smart/tech/engineer, leader)

- 5 person team (usually a 3 person team core with 2 additional members)

It's like "madlibbing" a story - using characters named "heavy", "tech", "leader", any IP can slot in their characters. For these, Teal'c/Carter/O'Neill or Raphael/Donatello/Leonardo or Hulk/Stark/Rogers.

Some plots will naturally be more widely adaptable to multiple IPs than others. Any hero can be used to tell a sufficiently generic story, but not all heroes work in all stories. Imagine doing Man of Steel in the MCU, or Infinity War in the DCEU.

You are complaining that movies are all similar, insofar as they tend to focus on 1, 2, 3 or 5 people?

you'd think they could make a fantastic 4 movie that was good then... if only for the novelty...

That explains why they never made the "Two and a Half Men" movie!

Please do not give these bad ideas to Hollywood executives, or we might suffer such a production.

This is supposed to be a bland analysis. Please, try to be more objective.

These roles are well-defined in modern literature, and it logically follows that a market must exist, to buy and sell stories and IPs. This allows a video production company to license plots and characters, combine them (insert hero A into slot Tech), and sell edited videos of the production.

There's a simple solution. Don't use any content that can't be downloaded as an actual file, with no DRM or other bullshit. That sometimes means that I'm restricted to torrented stuff. But that's not my problem.

The simple solution is to not download this stuff, period. The above sounds like rationalizing copyright infringement.

You sound like a DRM apologist. There are real damages caused by DRM, for instance the fact that if everyone behaves according to the law, then nobody can ever make or receive archival copies of works that have gone out of copyright again.

Even if everyone who produces media, holding the copyrights and distributing it with restrictive DRM is dead at some future date and the requisite 80 years have passed, if all content consumers behave legally then we STILL can't make legal copies of the now public domain works because DMCA says we are circumventing a copyright protection mechanism (on works that are out of copyright, the DMCA makes no exception for them.)

Copyright was supposed to be a limited term but according to the law today, even if no further extension acts are signed, rights holders such as Sony are empowered to ensure their work may never legally enter into the public domain. Their mechanisms need not even be strong to have the force of law behind them.

That's a travesty. I didn't down vote you, but I strongly disagree that this is any kind of "solution" you propose, just bury your head in the sand, "you don't need to be in touch with culture, or propagate it forward in time... forget about that media, it was meant for the sheeple."

Or, since they're taking the position that you're not buying the media but you're buying a "license", you can purchase it and then pirate a DRM-free copy.

But really, when copyright is so blatantly one-sided against the people, why should the people be expected to wholly support it?

I'm not advocating for ignoring it completely but some rules are just ridiculous. For example ripping. DMCA says that circumvention of technical protections is illegal. If I buy a Blu-Ray, why shouldn't I be able to rip it and add it to my Plex library? What harm does that inflict?

Then there are more dubious questions like is it okay to pirate if there's no legal option? My opinion is yes, it's totally okay. If there's no legal means through which to give the copyright owner money, I'm not "taking" anything away by obtaining it without doing so.

Copyright includes the right to not distribute your work (IMO and under the law). Suppose person A takes an intimate digital photo of person B (with their consent). Person A does not offer to sell it to you. It’s still improper for you to take a digital copy. I think the media companies have that same right in their copyrighted works. I realize that wasn’t your main argument, but feel it important enough to mention.

I agree with your position on the first 3 paragraphs.

When copyright was invented, there was no such thing as DRM and they still thought it was important to build in something called Fair Use rights. Those are totally out the window now. Nobody ever conceived that someone could distribute thousands of copies of a work to theater houses, and we'd all be walking around with portable recorders in our pockets.

I'd say that the law needs an update, but historically whenever that has happened, it has not gone at all in the direction I'd have liked.

The people who dreamed up Copyright laws never imagined that we'd come up with these ridiculous schemes where a content creator (copyright holder) can simultaneously distribute copies and not distribute them. They intended for it to be a limited protection, where copies would be permitted after some finite period of time, so that valuable cultural contributions would not be lost after 100 years when almost nobody cared anymore, except for a few librarians and some people who are yet to be born. But in 100 years, when Blu Ray discs are out of copyright, humans may not remember what a Blu Ray player was (or they could be centrally EOLed by fiat and you will not be able to play content from Blu Ray discs anymore, by some technical disabling) and still, without changes to the law as it currently stands, you will not be able to take a copy for preservation even if you had the technical means or wherewithal to know how to build it.

The law was never intended to be used to permanently restrict the sharing and flow of information.

> Copyright includes the right to not distribute your work (IMO and under the law). Suppose person A takes an intimate digital photo of person B (with their consent). Person A does not offer to sell it to you. It’s still improper for you to take a digital copy.

That scenario has absolutely nothing to do with copyright law, and it is disingenuous of you to suggest otherwise.

Any limited distribution of content (limited editions, privately commissioned works, etc) absolutely has to do with copyright law (IMO of course).

My example was chosen as one type of privately commissioned work that everyone could (presumably) quickly agree with the outcome being the correct one.

It's a good example, but it's a better fodder for argument if you take out the word "intimate"

I don't want my grandchildren or anyone else to have or reproduce intimate photos of me, sure, but I do want the progeny to be able to freely make copies of photos of me in my glory days, for a school project or shrine or whatever. Meanwhile, say, I would like to be able to tightly control distribution of my own image as long as I am alive.

If I used one of the DRM mechanisms available today to add a technical protection preventing unauthorized reproductions of my image, ... I don't think I have to say any more, you get the point right? Whatever incentives you have today, Copyright was never meant to protect them exclusively, forever (but the current law, since DMCA and Sonny Bono/Mickey Mouse, does essentially allow for this, protection in perpetuity and without exclusion.)

Fair Use was a protection introduced in 1976 extension of US Copyright law specifically with the idea of preserving for posterity and other uses with a social benefit in mind.

Until much more recently, honoring posterity was always an explicit part of the "social contract" provided by copyright protections. After a reasonable span of time has passed, those protections should expire so that future generations (or even sooner, other cases provided for by fair use) can benefit from the work, in a historical perspective, or any other "fair" context.

At one time, nobody could stop you from traveling across a border with a copy or original of some artwork without physically standing in the way. There was also a time when "exploding copies" were science fiction, or maybe the stuff of spy movies. None of these protections for public domain are effective now in an era where these capabilities are real and available to the masses for general use.

Fair point on confusing people with specifically intimate. Thanks.

But what if someone else didn't want their photos from their "glory days" to be available? Shouldn't they have the right just as much as you have the right to decide you do? Maybe they have a religious or spiritual objection to it...

I personally tend to favor control of duplication rights being under the control of the creator of the work. If I have a right to be forgotten while alive, I think I also have a right to be forgotten after my death.

I hope for the sake of my own family and the memory of our ancestors that we haven't really found ways yet to make that technically possible. I think the use of a person's image is a bit tortured too compared to other kinds of media you might copy and employ fair-use on, but I'll admit that with "a bit tortured" maybe I'm being willfully obtuse if I ever tried to argue that no person's image is present in any entertainment forms that were recorded, like movie or song.

I can always burn some embarrassing photo if it's on film, well or say, embarassing blog post, ... there are technical means to signal to web service providers like archive.org that act as public archivers that they should forget their remembrance of your broadcast (via robots.txt or other means - it's actually very easy to automatically disappear yourself off the internet so that Archive.org won't even remember you, if you operated your own domain and knew how to make that request to cease retention well-formed.) I don't know if robots.txt has anything like force of law, but you can use it and honorable, responsive service providers may all honor it.

But I don't think that anybody has a right to be forgotten, in the mind of any public citizen, (and other than with respect to any service providers.) If you broadcast your ideas to me, and in the process of my lawful consumption a copy is made, or in the case of a piece of code that runs in my browser for example, I believe that I should absolutely be permitted to take a copy for my own remembrance, or analysis (given it is done without intent of reproduction or for immediate re-distribution), and inclusive of the idea that I may intend a lawful preservation for reproduction in the public commons when the copyright has expired. The law as I understand it agrees, these are all permitted copies. There are even more separate protections for patents and protected trade secrets.

Any technical means you can employ that prevents this lawful exchange I view as evil, and to me that's not up for debate. There are separate (legal) protections that you can enact if you are concerned about commercial uses, or wholesale ripoffs, or like, say, the disclosure of a trade secret by some trusted (contracted) party that diminishes your market value – those are all considerations that exclude a copy-ier from protections under fair use. But those are the limits of your legal protections as I understand it, and if I stand behind that line, the law should always tilt in my favor.

If I'm not diminishing the value of your work by taking a copy when you offer it, and keeping it, then I think I can tell you to pound sand. The most you can do, as a private citizen, is ask me to forget you, ... and I hope I can always say no! (Of course, if you've used DRM technology to prevent taking the copy, then the law is actually on your side today notwithstanding fair use.)

> Copyright includes the right to not distribute your work (IMO and under the law).

Yes, I get that. And that's why people in different countries have differing availability for videos etc. Because Netflix etc license different stuff in different markets. Maybe because some markets are too small to justify fees demanded by media companies. Or whatever.

But again, that's not my problem. If I can't buy it, or even buy the rights to view it, then getting it from a torrent doesn't damage the copyright holder. Because there's no way that I could pay for it. Short of moving to a suitable country, anyway. Or by using a VPN service to virtually move to a suitable country.

I do get the argument that complaints to Netflix etc about unavailable content should drive licensing in affected countries. But I have no patience for that. And, as I say, it's not my problem.

I'm happy to pay for stuff.

But I'm not willing to pay for stuff that may disappear because some third party did or didn't do one thing or another.

Honestly I see it closer to civil disobedience, where people simply refuse to follow laws that they consider against their best interest. And I think it's hard to argue that it's working - like John Oliver said when 'talking' to the 90s, "we have stopped paying for our music, and we got away with it!".

I see your point though,and I'm slightly annoyed that you're downvoted for it.

Yes, civil disobedience.

And yes, it didn't really work for music. Instead of absurdly expensive CDs, we have inexpensive streaming services that provide no actual files. And log and sell usage data.

On the other hand, it has been quite a while since I wanted to buy some specific music and couldn't find an option to buy it as audio files somewhere.

It worked great for music. You can download DRM-free music and keep it forever. This only happened after Apple and friends tried putting DRM on their downloads and people didn't want to put up with it.

> This only happened after Apple and friends tried putting DRM

That wasn’t Apple’s choice, to get the rights to the music, they had too. Once they were a juggernaut in the space, they successfully forced the music industry to change. I’m still waiting for that to happen with movies and tv shows, but I’m unoptimistic it’ll happen any time soon.

> He moved to Canada, roughly nine months ago, after purchasing the films in Australia

Of course he moved countries, that would do it. The movie is available in both countries, but in a different "version". The rows have different id, so the query does not match them.

The legal details of online media purchases and country are crazy complex. Like batshit, no reason for it, it got that way over time and now we're stuck with it, "not fit for 21st century purpose but here we are". I worked in this area and it's easily the most complex part of it and as far as selling and streaming bits goes, pointless.

Agreed -- it's entirely non-sensical in how it's enforced as well. I'm a US expat, and travel fairly regularly for work; when I first left the US, I retained my Amazon Prime subscription, naively thinking "A video is a video, who cares where I am?" Then I learned about distribution rights, and how absolutely terrible companies are at informing people about whether or not certain content is actually available in their region or not.

Unless something has changed since the last time I checked (2 years back, so happy to be proven wrong), there is no official method provided to consumers to determine if you can actually utilize most streaming services from any given country/region, and this is extremely frustrating to me. Streaming should be perfect for me as it's preferable to keep what I carry as light as possible, and yet I know that I cannot rely on any streaming service to reliably provide me with the content that I signed up with the intention of viewing/listening to.

Granted, I guess that's my fault for traveling, but it just seems very silly that one situation where streaming is the perfect solution, it fails completely due to distribution rights.

They were going to force a "single digital market" in EU but I haven't heard news about it recently.

This is why piracy is still going strong... purchasing movies is just so inconvenient. I really don't understand how hollywood doesn't see this.

A better product, delivered in a more convenient way, more reliably and cheaper. Piracy isn't going away anytime soon.

And that's the real point that's misunderstood by most respondents to this article. Because the guy moved, he could no longer re-download his legally purchased movie in the new location (= new movie rights jurisdiction). However, if he should move back to the original location, he should be able to re-download them just fine. Meaning, that while he is in a media-rights jurisdiction different to that of his original purchase, his movie is in limbo. In other words, the ability to download his purchase, comes with a geographic restriction. That point should probably be pointed out to prospective purchasers.

And if he'd purchased films on region locked dvds or blu-ray - he could've taken his blu-ray player with him when he moved - and be able to play his old films on his old player - but might have to buy a new player to buy locally purchased films.

This isn't strictly true, though: DVD region locking is mostly broken now, and I think(?) few blu-ray disc's are actually region locked?

This will be even better with drm in the display port standard or whatever - so you need an Australian apple TV on an Australian VPN connected to an Australian TV...

To be clear, I would not entirely blame Apple. Apple is a digital company who will not care a lot about borders and region when selling hardware and software. But in order to sell movies and music that they do not "own", they have to enter into signed legal agreements with the rights-holders of that media. e.g. "Cars" is owned by Disney/Pixar.

Those agreements will mandate that Apple enforce this antiquated fuckwitery.

This article contradicts itself in at least one significant way without providing a real explanation for the contradiction.

Early on the article claims "Apple tells CNET that it won't delete your movies, either. At least, not ones you've downloaded.". But that's not a useful answer because it doesn't provide any real security about one's downloaded works.

Later CNET says "We can't be sure what will will happen if Disney -- or any other content provider -- "recalls" a digital purchase, as a publisher did with an ebook of George Orwell's 1984 on Amazon back in 2009.".

Keep in mind that Amazon made a similar pledge to what Apple reportedly told CNET. As Richard Stallman rightly points out in https://stallman.org/amazon.html "In response to criticism, Amazon promised it would never do this again unless ordered to by the state, which I find not very comforting.". In other words, Amazon tacitly acknowledges it retains the power to do this again.

It's far more useful to examine the situation along the lines of which party retains what power over the user, or to look at how much freedom users have in the situation.

Therefore the real hinge here (which goes completely unaddressed in the CNET article) is software freedom (the freedom to run, inspect, share, and modify published computer software). If one uses free software to locate and read/play the work, then one has a chance to make sure that the free program won't betray their interests -- continuing to read/play the work at any time, for any reason, and do so without spying on or reporting the activity to others without explicit consent from the user.

But if one uses proprietary (nonfree, user-subjugating) software to access a downloaded copy of the work, one's access to the work is in jeopardy. One can't be certain that copy will be readable/playable through that proprietary software. Perhaps the proprietary software will delete that copy of the work (putting aside what's legal or, more importantly, ethical for the moment, it is worth noting that proprietors retain the technical power to do exactly this in most people's common use of media). Perhaps the proprietary software will report on the user's attempt to read/play the work thus notifying someone what's being read/played and from where.

> In other words, Amazon tacitly acknowledges it retains the power to do this again.

> But if one uses proprietary (nonfree, user-subjugating) software to access a downloaded copy of the work, one's access to the work is in jeopardy. One can't be certain that copy will be readable/playable through that proprietary software. Perhaps the proprietary software will delete that copy of the work

Amazon only has the power to do this if you connect your Kindle to the internet. You can be sure that Amazon won't reach out to your Kindle to remove your books when it's impossible for them to do so.

How do you get new books if the Kindle never connects to the internet?

you can connect your kindle via usb and access it like a mass storage device to add new books, if you want. I've tried this on a ubuntu box and a fedora box, both default installs, and it just works with no extra drivers or anything.

Of course, the whole point of a kindle is that it's super convenient to live in amazon's walled garden. If you don't want to live in amazon's walled garden... you probably are using another device anyhow.

Connecting a kindle via USB and using Calibre to manage one's library is very convenient as well. It will also automatically convert any DRM-free epubs you may have bought elsewhere to a format that works with the kindle, etc.

Theoretically if you got those new books from Amazon, they could contain a bit of configuration telling the Kindle to delete your old books.

sure, But so far, that's not really how amazon operates; I mean, when I hook up my kindle I can actually copy most (maybe all? I haven't checked exhaustively) of the books off the kindle on to my computer, and then restore them back to the kindle later; even if amazon does delete the books off my kindle, if I put any effort into backups (which I don't, 'cause amazon removing a book is excessively rare) - I would still have the files. (how useful those would be would depend on the level of DRM applied to it, which I understand is controlled by the publisher and varies by book.)

That, and if you are giving up the convenience of the amazon ecosystem, why would you pay extra for books from amazon? The amazon kindle is one of the most expensive ways to get books, and the value proposition is that it's super easy and convenient, and sure, I'll pay extra for a super convenient book ecosystem. If you are willing to deal with inconveniences, there's much cheaper ways to do it. Hell, I think buying used physical copies and sending the book to the destructive book scan place is often cheaper than buying new (the only option) for the kindle.

Having a book scanned produces a hard-to-read PDF for books with large pages; you'd need either a very large reader or to tolerate very small print.

Yeah, I've got a A4-sized reader for scientific papers and other things that come in PDFs that are sized for a full page. But the vast majority of my paper books have pages closer to the size of a kindle screen than a A4 sheet of paper.

OCR is another solution.

I mean, I'm not arguing that these other solutions aren't way inferior to just buying the e-book direct from amazon; I was just trying to make the point that living in the amazon ecosystem is a much more expensive way to consume books than just buying used books.

TL;DR: No conspiracy - it's (slightly) different movies.

At least for Cars 2 - Australian version (right at the start of video) is literally different from other English versions (around 3:30) - https://youtu.be/SaYmI7xANCg

Many other movies (and especially animated) have different versions with such tweaks so story/jokes still continue to make sense around the world.

Considering it looks like I'm the first one to point this out - it probably never crossed mind of Apple systems engineers that such things might need to be handled. And even if it did - feature probably got bumped by other things that impact bigger % of customers...

More "internationalization" examples of animated movies https://youtu.be/oB8Fr6Mm2zA

I moved from the US to the UK a year ago, and I'm still worried to switch all my media accounts to UK territory. PS3, PS4, itunes, google, netflix, steam, blizzard are all tied to my US account and credit card still. Articles like this don't give me hope I should be switching

Don't do it. Create new ones, if you must. Try to sign into your US accounts from time to time using a VPN.

The article is being altogether too soft on Apple. Good customer service would have been Apple simply fixing it for the customer instead of parroting the letter of the rules.

You don't buy digital movies. You license them under a license that says you can use it for a limited amount of time at the discretion of the company you're licensing from.

If you want to buy something, you need either a physical item like a DVD based on common open standards (as you have coded to remove the encryption), or you need a file that is playable in software you have the source code to.

Even then hardware wise it becomes more and more expensive to play old purchases due to entropy, and time moving on. Try to play a c90 cassette now, or a 78rpm record. Think how easy that is compared to a 1/4" video tape or umatic.

I decided last year to archive my old cassette recordings I made when I was younger, and those of local bands I havent seen elsewhere. The tape deck, pretty easy. A few thrift stores and I had a nice hifi model with dolby b, c, decent heads. Most had badly misaligned heads, deteriorated rollers, and broken drive belts at best. Even my better unit needed a full disassembly, cleaning, lube, 3 electrolytic capacitors replaced, and custom rollers made, and a 10 dollar belt kit. That is not even mentioning more routine maint like head cleaning, path demagnatisation, and media prep. Old tapes before 1980s often need to be baked or lubed to play properly without disintegrating in the works. And then you have Bias, NR, and Tape speeds to worry about. I found my old tascam ran at nearly 2x speed, and had unique head spacing, and 4 track simutanious recording, making it nessassary to repair it as well at signifigant cost.

Were CD's the last DRM unencumbered physical/digital format?

Fyi: Most dj style Neumark record players will play 78s, and sound quite good depending on your stylus.

This is true, but most providers of digital content fraudulently market it as a purchase instead of as a license. Law enforcement needs to crack down on this type of marketing for any form of license that does not offer similar rights to a true purchase, i.e. perpetual, irrevocable and freely-transferable.

This just shows how important is to buy DRM-free. And who is selling DRM-free video exactly?

Torrents and Usenet. Prices are competitive, too.

Exactly the point. Film industry should sober up and start behaving properly, by enabling legal DRM-free options, instead of being stuck up in their backwards thinking DRM obsession.

See also: https://fckdrm.com

Barely anything for major film releases. Sure, you can get some indie films DRM-free, but that's about it. Torrents is really the only accessible source.

Even if apple didn't delete his movies, the fact remains that he can't watch them. This is why I am very hesitant to buy online-only drm-ed goods if I can't remove the drm.

Reminds me of the time that I moved back from the US to Canada but I couldn't change the billing on my Xbox Live account because I couldn't specify a province in the billing address. I had to buy Xbox Live gift cards to renew my membership year after year So sad. Xbox Live is state of the art but the billing system is a dinosaur.

I have to buy PSN credit off eBay or get my parents to buy it because I moved from Ireland to the UK. I stopped playing world of Warcraft when I moved because I couldn't find a way to pay battle.net after I moved. It's insanity.

Buying digital media with DRM is a mixed bag. For eBooks I sometimes buy directly from publishers to get no DRM versions, but for Google Play movies, Kindle and Audible books, iBooks, and Play books I most factor the risk of loss of access into the price/value purchase decision.

Buying DRM media from multiple companies is also a good hedge-my-bets strategy. At the other side, renting access: I am a big fan of O’Reilly Safari. For a yearly fee I can read their library. Much of my job and career requires me to stay current with new tech and I generally prefer reading or skimming a recent book to reading miscellaneous stuff on the web.

It's perverse that we've accepted as OK, taking the concept of movie regions, to books. It's perverse that we've accepted we're effectively licensing a book rather than owning it, losing the right to loan out, or gift, any ebook the same as any book. It is a corruption of good ideas into bad ideas. These things should be called rentals at the time of sale.

Old complaint (2012) https://www.zdnet.com/article/why-amazon-is-within-its-right...

But even if the movie has been downloaded, and unless there is no DRM, Apple still has the capacity to lock you out of that movie and all you have left is a rather large blob of random bytes on your hard drive.

Why is it difficult for this guy to switch his locale to australia? The screenshot of the form shows the “NONE” payment option.

Having moved countries, and lock-out regions, three times... this is precisely why I still buy physical copies of media (mainly video games and movies).

I'm increasingly worried about video game console hard drives, and the digital purchases I've made, surviving any future issues with the console or download/streaming services.

Tech companies want to sell you their cloud and tell you it's better than local storage, to tie you to their platform and for a ongoing revenue stream but this is where you notice the leaky abstraction.


Except they didn't delete the movie, the guy did. He assumed he'd be able to re-download it, and he can't after moving.

That's messed up, but Apple did not delete the movie from any of his devices.

This guy forgot that the cloud is "someone's else's computers."

They removed it from his account. This defense based on slightly disagreeing over the correct semantics of "delete" is really grating. Apple promised him a purchase with indefinite storage, then took the access away.

> Apple promised him a purchase with indefinite storage

I do think it's terrible that these movies seem to available in both regions, but are somehow not considered equivalent. So yes, I agree, it sucks that they removed it from his account. But I'm very curious about the part of your comment I quoted.

I don't think any service provider has ever specified "indefinite storage" forever, especially across regions, but I would trust such a promise not at all.

I'm really not trying to defend Apple here, because the whole thing sucks. But as hacker-types, surely we can try to understand how intellectual property and regional licensing and the edge cases of people moving internationally are more likely to result in screw-ups than not, right?

> I don't think any service provider has ever specified "indefinite storage" forever, especially across regions, but I would trust such a promise not at all.

Isn't it the business model of every online game store? I don't trust it completely, but I trust it enough to not really bother with backing up my Steam games.

> I'm really not trying to defend Apple here, because the whole thing sucks. But as hacker-types, surely we can try to understand how intellectual property and regional licensing and the edge cases of people moving internationally are more likely to result in screw-ups than not, right?

"Screw-up" implies that they would fix it and get him the movie back.

Apple should be licensing it so that once you buy the movie in a specific region, you can access it anywhere forever. That they don't is their failing, and I think it's inappropriate to use the word "buy" for what you apparently get.

While I agree that "the cloud" really means "someone else's computers", I also believe that that's not something service providers tell their users. When the button says "Buy" and the service says all the content you "buy" will be available on their cloud, the service is promising them access to that content served from the service's own computers. When the service subsequently removes this access, even if not from the user's computer directly, but from their own computers, they break this promise.

Of course the service is at fault for breaking such promises.

It's "someone's else's computers" that he paid money to use, and now he's not able to use it.

Highly amusing when a cynical swearing cartoon show like South Park coins a phrase used to denote a legal strategy. For those in the unknown: "A Chewbacca defense is a legal strategy in which the aim of the argument is to deliberately confuse the jury rather than to factually refute the case of the other side. "

This is why I don't trust CNet's reviews of Apple's products. They'll convince the customer that "you're holding it wrong" for bones from Apple!

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