This week, both of our top comments on the insightful side come from our post about Apple deleting purchased movies from people’s devices after losing the rights. In first place, it’s Gwiz responding to the idea that people should known they are only licensing digital content, not buying it:
Then why does the button say “Buy” and not “Rent”?
As far as I’m concerned, when the terms of sale indicate that I am “purchasing” a digital copy, then that is exactly what I am doing. I will take “my copy” and do with it as I please, which includes removing any DRM and making backup copies.
This is exactly what I do periodically with my Kindle and the wife’s Kindle. I save un-DRMed copies of everything to my laptop with Calibre.
But Apple implemented a system that allows purchases to become unavailable when the work is no longer for sale. That is on Apple.
There are other digital distributors that do not operate under those same terms.
To pick one example: Rifftrax no longer sells the two 1960s Doctor Who movies that used to be available on the site; it lost the rights to them. However, if you purchased them when they were available, then you can still stream or download them.
To pick another example: The Square Enix game Last Remnant was recently removed from Steam; it’s no longer for sale. But if you bought it when it was for sale, you can still download and play it. If you bought a Steam code from a third-party seller, you can still redeem that code.
Rifftrax is located in the US. Valve is located in the US. Both companies are subject to exactly the same copyright laws that Apple is. And yet, they don’t take away their customers’ purchases when those items are removed from their stores.
There’s plenty to criticize about US copyright law.
But this? This is Apple’s fault. Not solely Apple’s fault, but Apple’s certainly not blameless.
If it was a rental, the price shouldn’t be the same as a purchase. If it was a purchase, then Apple owes a refund since they charged for a purchase, not a rental.
And what if the customer(s) just licensed their money to Apple?
Next, it’s Get off my cyber-lawn! painting an even broader picture of the ridiculousness of how digital goods often work:
I went onto a large, popular e-book website last month and looked up a book I wanted to purchase (still popular, still in print). I got an “out of stock” response for a freaking E-BOOK!
Its bad enough that you want to charge me as much OR MORE money than for a print copy, but then you tell me you are fresh out of 1s and 0s for that particular item?
And THAT is what contributes to a “pirate” culture.
At least the rules are getting clearer…
1) If you block posting of any user content, we will fine you.
2) if you fail to remove objectionable content within 1 hour we will fine you.
3) if you remove or otherwise censor any content, we will fine you.
4) If you don’t block objectionable content from being posted, we will fine you.
or, to put it simply, “Send us all your money”
Several opportunities in fact, given SDCC convinced a judge that shortening ‘convention’ to ‘con’ belongs only to them. Really, legal thuggery paired with trying to monopolize a word with multiple connotations, one of them not so pleasant? The jokes practically write themselves.
‘When you think ‘con’, think SDCC.’
‘SDCC: For when you want a first-class con.’
‘Why settle for a lesser con where they might not know what they’re doing when you can let the SDCC show you how a con-job really works.’
For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out with Stephen T. Stone, who has a question about Valve’s latest foggy explanation of who it will ban from Steam:
Defining what separates a good faith effort to sell a game from a “troll” involves a “deep assessment” of the developer, Valve says, including a look at “what they’ve done in the past, their behavior on Steam as a developer, as a customer, their banking information, developers they associate with, and more.”
So when do they ban games published by EA?
And last but not least, we’ve got an anonymous commenter catching another commenter out on an amusing typo about, er, rampant piracy:
Wonton piracy is only practical if you can get the goods fresh. Nobody wants stale wontons.
That’s all for this week, folks!