You Don’t Own Your Amazon And iTunes Stuff
You might think that you own the stuff you’ve bought from Amazon and iTunes. After all, you’ve coughed up the cash for it, all that music, those electronics books, they’re all on your devices. But sad to say you don’t in fact own it: you’re only renting it.
More than £30 billion of films, music and books bought through iTunes and Amazon could vanish when their owners die.
Where once a relative could bequeath their precious book library or Beatles collection to a loved one, this is not strictly possible with downloaded digital files because they are not owned by the purchaser.
Matthew Strain, partner at solicitors Strain-Kerville, says: ‘It boils down to this: you don’t have the same rights as with print books, DVDs and CDs. Rather, you own a licence to use the digital files — so when you die, they expire with you.’
That’s absolutely correct: you’ve not actually bought it, you’ve only paid for a licence to use it for your lifetime. So banish any thoughts of inheriting granny’s valuable iTunes collection.
And don’t think that this is just a technical point. A few years back Amazon realised that it had made a mistake over some George Orwell books. They were still under copyright in one country and not in another and they had allowed a company to sell in the first country as if it was in the second. The solution? They remotely wiped all copies of those books from everyone’s accounts. Even thought they’d paid for them.
The licence isn’t really even for your lifetime. It’s for as long as the supplier thinks you should be allowed to have what you think you’ve paid for.