Monday, December 16, 2013

Purchased movies in the cloud pulled due to licensing agreements

When was the last time you purchased a movie? What format was it in? DVD, Blu-ray, iTunes, Vudu, Amazon, Google Play? It is very likely that you used some sort of cloud-based video service such as Amazon's Instant Video service, Vudu, or UltraViolet. These formats are becoming more and more common as our devices are more connected, and the old, physical media model is going away. Having your entire movie collection in an online library, accessible from any connected device sounds awesome, right?

But, what happens when a movie you buy is pulled by the content provider and you are not able to watch it? I know, I know, first world problem. But, that's what's happened to consumers of Amazon's Instant Video service, who purchased Christmas videos. Disney, the owner of the content, has a license restriction with Amazon that allows them to pull the content whenever they want. In this case, Disney wanted certain Christmas videos only available for viewing on their TV channel, and not through any other means. So those Christmas videos customers purchased? Well, they won't be available for viewing again in their video libraries until July 2014. Something to be aware of the next time you purchase a movie.

UPDATE 12/17/13: Amazon said that this was apparently a glitch and has apologized. Although they still retain control to enable/disable purchased items in your online video library.

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