WARNING: Serious flaw in iTunes in the Cloud

ipedro

macrumors 601
Original poster
Nov 30, 2004
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Toronto, ON
Did you know that if you buy a movie on iTunes via AppleTV -- which doesn't require that you even own a PC/Mac --that you don't really own that movie? If the content owner pulls the movie from the store or licenses the movie to a different distributor, you no longer have access to that movie. It will not show up in your Purchased list.

If you purchase via iTunes on a computer, you will have a downloaded copy. But if you bought on AppleTV, it has no local storage so your movies are gone.

My brother noticed he was missing several movies so he contacted Apple. After a pair of geniuses who didn't have a clue (kept sending him download links and advice on how to download purchased movies in iTunes) I suggested he contact Tim Cook's office. They called him the same day and told him what I'm telling you: that when a content provider pulls a movie/tv show/song, Apple has no control. They remove that content from their servers and you lose access to it.

This is a serious flaw in iTunes in the Cloud. It needs to be patched up because movie licenses change hands all the time. A lot of people are going to start noticing their movies gone missing. PR disaster approaching in 3... 2... 1...
 

ipedro

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Nov 30, 2004
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Toronto, ON
My brother was told that they will get back to him by Monday to conclude his request. But if people start noticing movies go missing, refunds aren't automatic, or movies aren't switched to a new license or saved in the cloud for past purchasers like it should work. Instead you have to write to Apple and escalate this to the highest office in the company to get any sort of response and compensation.
 

ipedro

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Nov 30, 2004
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Universal Soldier, Rambo, Rambo First Blood, Rambo II, Basic Instinct, Terminator 2, Tron: Legacy... are just a few.

As you can guess, all of these movies are still available on iTunes but their distributer license changed so whoever bought from the old distributor is S.O.L.

This isn't the first time a distributer has changed and it won't be the last. It's a near certainty that some of the movies that you've bought will change distributors at some point and your old license will be invalid, meaning you're out of the movie and you're out of your money.

The only way around this is to download all your movies on a PC/Mac and back them up somewhere -- even if you bought them on AppleTV. Apple doesn't warn you about this when you buy a movie on AppleTV. This is creating a fragmentation on how your movies are handled. Some will be available via the Movies/Purchased menu. Others will be on your local iTunes computer (if you have one) that you'll have to AirPlay to the AppleTV.
 

bobr1952

macrumors 68020
Jan 21, 2008
2,040
39
Melbourne, FL
I am not surprised at this at all--and really Apple can't do much about it since it is the distributor that is screwing around with people. I would never rely on the cloud for purchases--music, books, or movies. Distributors are always pulling licenses on a whim. I only buy content I can download--but it is nice to also have it in the cloud. I subscribe to MOG and have probably 10GBs of music on my iPhone from them but I also buy music--mostly the content Amazon puts on sale--but that is really the only music I consider safe--I often buy music I also have on my phone with MOG. Why? For this very reason, I don't trust the licenses by the distributors. Buyer beware when it comes to content providers.
 

jgabriel

macrumors newbie
May 18, 2012
8
0
Did you know that if you buy a movie on iTunes via AppleTV -- which doesn't require that you even own a PC/Mac --that you don't really own that movie? If the content owner pulls the movie from the store or licenses the movie to a different distributor, you no longer have access to that movie. It will not show up in your Purchased list.

If you purchase via iTunes on a computer, you will have a downloaded copy. But if you bought on AppleTV, it has no local storage so your movies are gone.

My brother noticed he was missing several movies so he contacted Apple. After a pair of geniuses who didn't have a clue (kept sending him download links and advice on how to download purchased movies in iTunes) I suggested he contact Tim Cook's office. They called him the same day and told him what I'm telling you: that when a content provider pulls a movie/tv show/song, Apple has no control. They remove that content from their servers and you lose access to it.

This is a serious flaw in iTunes in the Cloud. It needs to be patched up because movie licenses change hands all the time. A lot of people are going to start noticing their movies gone missing. PR disaster approaching in 3... 2... 1...
But what have they done about that? Did they provide any feedback? this is very serious. I was considering star buying movies form iTunes. In fact, I just bought my first, Batman The Dark knight. The movies section as well as the feature movies in the cloud arrived in Brazil very recently.
 

ipedro

macrumors 601
Original poster
Nov 30, 2004
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Toronto, ON
My brother was given the opportunity to re-download the missing movies but was warned that this was a one time exception. When a movie is delisted from iTunes, it is no longer available for streaming from an AppleTV. If you purchased it on AppleTV, you will not have any backup copy because AppleTV doesn't have storage.

This is indeed a very serious flaw.

I've asked Apple support this question myself in several ways and the best way for them to understand it is:

"When I purchase a movie on AppleTV, do I have to manually download and back it up somewhere else or will it always be available for download on my AppleTV forever?"

Apple's answer is that you have to back it up. This kind of defeats the purpose of the convenience of an AppleTV.
 
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ipedro

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Nov 30, 2004
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Toronto, ON
I'm collecting evidence, facts and exhausting all avenues with Apple Support in preparation for presenting this flaw to Tim Cook's office. In the process, I found this Apple support document:

If I buy a new iPod with video capability or an Apple TV, will I have to purchase the movie again?

No.
If the answer is "No, you do not have to buy the movie again", this means that a movie will always be available for playback and/or downloading on new Apple devices. This contradicts some support staff's claim that you must backup all movies purchased on the AppleTV to a separate Mac or PC.
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,910
2,480
St. Louis, MO
And people wonder why I only buy movies on physical media :rolleyes:


If this keeps up, and Apple won't provide refunds or another satisfactory resolution, just file a chargeback with your credit card. You're not getting the product you paid for, so you have the right to file a dispute.
 

ipedro

macrumors 601
Original poster
Nov 30, 2004
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Toronto, ON
I sent my complaint to Tim Cook's email and the next day somebody called me from his office. They confirmed that:

If a movie is delisted from iTunes or its license changes hands to a different distributor, you will not be able to download that movie again.

She said that I must back up all my purchases. When I told her I didn't have a computer because we're in a post PC world now (I only have an iPad, iPhone and AppleTV), she said that I have to back up the movies somehow. "So I need to buy a computer just to back up my movies?" I asked. "Yes" she said.

Apple is going to run into sooooo much trouble at some point because millions upon millions of people are buying movies on their AppleTV's and iPad's and over time some movies will either be delisted or change licenses and these millions of people are going to notice.

----------

My brother was given the opportunity to re-download the missing movies but was warned that this was a one time exception. When a movie is delisted from iTunes, it is no longer available for streaming from an AppleTV. If you purchased it on AppleTV, you will not have any backup copy because AppleTV doesn't have storage.

This is indeed a very serious flaw.

I've asked Apple support this question myself in several ways and the best way for them to understand it is:

"When I purchase a movie on AppleTV, do I have to manually download and back it up somewhere else or will it always be available for download on my AppleTV forever?"

Apple's answer is that you have to back it up. This kind of defeats the purpose of the convenience of an AppleTV.
I must make a correction to this. I misunderstood my brother. They said they would call him the next day about giving him a credit or to re-download his movies. In fact, when they called back, they said there was nothing he could do. Over $100 in movies that he had purchased on his AppleTV and iPod were gone and Apple did nothing about it other than tell him that it's in the User Agreement.

Wow. Just wow. :eek:
 

ipedro

macrumors 601
Original poster
Nov 30, 2004
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Toronto, ON
This is now bordering on false advertising:











"Since you already own the songs, albums, movies, or TV shows in your purchase history, you can tap to download them to any of your devices."

" You can also download your past iTunes purchases."

"And when you buy a TV show, you can always download it again"
 
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Rigby

macrumors 601
Aug 5, 2008
4,867
3,812
San Jose, CA
Universal Soldier, Rambo, Rambo First Blood, Rambo II, Basic Instinct, Terminator 2, Tron: Legacy... are just a few.
I've had "Tron: Legacy" since it was released. It is still available in my Purchased section. No movie or TV show has ever been removed from my account.
 

tdhurst

macrumors 601
Dec 27, 2003
4,058
194
Phoenix, AZ
???

I've had "Tron: Legacy" since it was released. It is still available in my Purchased section. No movie or TV show has ever been removed from my account.
Uh oh, I wonder if the conspiracy theory is starting to unravel.

But we may be comparing different countries with different licensing laws here.
 

ipedro

macrumors 601
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Nov 30, 2004
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Toronto, ON
It's not a conspiracy theory. It's very real. I got my answers from the top: Tim Cook's office called me after I filed a complaint with Apple support and escalated it when I didn't get a straightforward answer.

The reality here is that Apple advertises the "post PC" revolution where you don't need a PC (or Mac) with a huge hard drive. Instead, you buy your content and it's saved to the cloud. That's not a lot of use if in a couple of years you go back and your purchases are gone because the license holder pulled it from the store or sold the rights to a different party.
 

tdhurst

macrumors 601
Dec 27, 2003
4,058
194
Phoenix, AZ
hmmm...

It's not a conspiracy theory. It's very real. I got my answers from the top: Tim Cook's office called me after I filed a complaint with Apple support and escalated it when I didn't get a straightforward answer.

The reality here is that Apple advertises the "post PC" revolution where you don't need a PC (or Mac) with a huge hard drive. Instead, you buy your content and it's saved to the cloud. That's not a lot of use if in a couple of years you go back and your purchases are gone because the license holder pulled it from the store or sold the rights to a different party.
I hope you're documenting this. Have you recorded all of the evidence on video and stored it with someone else?

Not to be all morbid, but you should probably only release it in the event you...well, you've probably seen enough movies.

I'm with you, man. I believe.
 

jlasoon

macrumors 6502a
Jun 1, 2006
505
620
Orlando, FL
And people wonder why I only buy movies on physical media :rolleyes:
Exactly, all iTunes purchases hinge on some crazy legal agreement that no one will ever understand. Even if you have a movie backup, doesn't the computer system need to be connected to the internet to play the movie? What if you have no internet? What if the power goes out? Am I wrong in assuming that all these files are DRM protected?
 

Rigby

macrumors 601
Aug 5, 2008
4,867
3,812
San Jose, CA
Uh oh, I wonder if the conspiracy theory is starting to unravel.

But we may be comparing different countries with different licensing laws here.
I guess it's possible. I just noticed that the OP appears to be posting from Canada (I'm in the U.S.). However, it's hard to believe based on my experience. Even movies that I own that have been pulled from the store in the meantime are still available in my Purchased section. For example, "The Tree of Life" is currently not available for purchase in the store, but I can still download it.
 

tdhurst

macrumors 601
Dec 27, 2003
4,058
194
Phoenix, AZ
Huh.

I guess it's possible. I just noticed that the OP appears to be posting from Canada (I'm in the U.S.). However, it's hard to believe based on my experience. Even movies that I own that have been pulled from the store in the meantime are still available in my Purchased section. For example, "The Tree of Life" is currently not available for purchase in the store, but I can still download it.
That's encouraging to hear.
 

jdag

macrumors 6502a
Jun 15, 2012
827
212
Is there any chance that the ATV could have been logged into a different store account when making the purchases? Therefore, nothing is actually missing, just is another account.
 

ipedro

macrumors 601
Original poster
Nov 30, 2004
4,705
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Toronto, ON
Unless Tim Cook's office doesn't know what's going on, I'd be concerned. His assistant explicitly told me that I need to back up my movies after buying them on AppleTV (tough luck if I don't own a computer in the post-PC world).

Regardless, my brother is a living example how this is true. He lost approximately 10 movies.

Different licenses perhaps have different rules so not every movie/tv show/song has this restriction.

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Is there any chance that the ATV could have been logged into a different store account when making the purchases? Therefore, nothing is actually missing, just is another account.
No. I actually anticipated that problem and made sure my brother knew about that possibility. He's only ever had one account.

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I guess it's possible. I just noticed that the OP appears to be posting from Canada (I'm in the U.S.). However, it's hard to believe based on my experience. Even movies that I own that have been pulled from the store in the meantime are still available in my Purchased section. For example, "The Tree of Life" is currently not available for purchase in the store, but I can still download it.
I see "The Tree of Life" available for purchase in iTunes.