Do you really ‘own’ the movies you buy online?

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by Doug Delony / KHOU 11 News

KMOV.com

Posted on October 24, 2012 at 3:24 PM

HOUSTON—DVD’s are quickly becoming a thing of the past as more people turn to watching movies online, but when you buy online, do you really own the movie?

One Amazon.com customer named Rebecca learned the hard way, reports The Consumerist. She purchased a movie months ago, only to find out later on she could no longer watch it.

When you pay to watch a movie online, you usually do it one of two ways: rent or buy. A rental will cost you less, generally just a few dollars, but you only get access to it for a day or so. When you buy, you’re given unlimited viewing on your computer, TV, mobile device, etc.

This kind of service is offered by Xbox, Amazon, Apple iTunes, and more.

Rebecca turned to Amazon to buy digital viewing rights for the animated movie Puss in Boots only to discover in early October she no longer had access to it. When she complained, Amazon responded saying the movie was temporarily pulled due to a licensing dispute with the movie studio.

Amazon’s Terms of Service tells it like it is which is why you always have to read the fine print before you drop $10 or $15 for an online movie.

The site says this about its videos—they “may become unavailable due to potential content provider licensing restrictions and for other reasons, and Amazon will not be liable...”

Long story short, you’re not really “buying” the movie but rather buying a license to view it, when it’s available. Amazon makes no guarantees, which is why some people want the popular site to change the language it uses on its streaming service.

Oh—at last check, Puss in Boots was still unavailable.

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