Buying Movies On Amazon Doesn’t Guarantee Future Access

That old, seemingly outdated DVD might be more reliable than a digital version of the movie

We’ve talked here before about how the convenience of buying movies digitally is in place of the guarantee that you’ll be able to access it for a long time into the future (see: What happens if the streaming company you “own” a movie or TV show from goes out of business? Yes, you lose it).

When you buy a physical disc — Blu-ray, DVD, etc — as long as you have a player to play the disc and the media isn’t damaged — nobody, thieves aside, can take that away.

Digital licenses are not currently and never have been permanent. Amazon is admitting what’s already stated in their TOS (Terms of Service):

When an Amazon Prime Video user buys content on the platform, what they’re really paying for is a limited license for “on-demand viewing over an indefinite period of time” and they’re warned of that in the company’s terms of use. That’s the company’s argument for why a lawsuit over hypothetical future deletions of content should be dismissed.

Amazon Argues Users Don’t Actually Own Purchased Prime Video Content | Hollywood Reporter

So, keep this in mind that buying a bunch of movies digitally doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to watch it tomorrow, next week, next month or next year. Buying the physical media is not exactly without obsolescence, just go back to betamax, laserdisc, HD-DVD as formats that have been replaced by newer, better technology.

4 thoughts on “Buying Movies On Amazon Doesn’t Guarantee Future Access

  1. This was the same with itunes, and another reason why it never replaced physical media; they reserve the right to take it away! I’ve got a big itunes library, and a big library that transferred to YouTube, but I’m never confident it’ll be there when I look for it; someone, somewhere, needs to find a way to merge all digital libraries, and make owning a copy worth a damn!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They shouldn’t be using the word “buy” because it creates a false advertising belief with consumers. It should be “short term rental” and “extended rental” — the extended rental essentially means there is no defined end date, but doesn’t mean you actually “bought” anything. Would expect to see some more legal challenges around this when/if the licensing is pulled and people who have paid a lot for digital libraries can no longer access the content they bought.

      You can’t just bury the details in some massive legal document and blame it on your customers for not reading the fine print. I’m calling this deceptive advertising and wonder if ultimately the courts will agree.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess almost everything in life is transitory, but I certainly know people who felt buyers remorse about attempting to build libraries in formats that were discontinued ie Ultraviolet. But centralizing the viewing library seems like such an obvious step in everyone’s interest, it’s a shame that sell-thru markets are slipping and have been for a while. I note that this is the last year that BAFTA are using screening disks, and they’ve long since abandoned iTunes; dedicated studio players seem to be the future, a format that most of the membership have no idea how to use. Joined up thinking is required urgently…

        Liked by 1 person

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