Let the Music Do the Walking

Apparently, it is not well known that when you buy something digitally you really don’t own the thing. You are buying a license to read the book, watch the movie, or listen to the music. You don’t really have it. There is a real difference between buying a CD at Barnes and Noble and buying an album on iTunes. Every digital transaction is a rental.

For example, Apple can simply remove (or add) the digital musical files from your iTunes collection for any reason. The most likely one is because the license changed or ended. This is, undoubtedly, incredibly frustrating.

The tweet below is something to remember.

What’s worse is not getting any sort of refund when they quietly take back the music, movie, TV show or book. One might expect to own these items bought digitally, but of course, you only bought the license. And the licensing deal can end. Details!

That pesky “buy” button confuses everyone because buying physical copies versus digital copies simply isn’t the same kind of transaction. Even though you might think it is. Media companies don’t like to point this out.

Buy a book for your Kindle and you’d better read the fine print: “Kindle Content is licensed, not sold, to you by the Content Provider.”

If you buy a song from iTunes you’d be wise to remember Apple, “reserves the right to change, suspend, remove, disable or impose access restrictions or limits on any External Services at any time without notice or liability to you.”

And you wonder why savvy customers have turned to digital piracy?

Of course, there are more legal ways of turning Kindle books into ePub than downloading the latest dystopian young adult title from the shady website that probably just infected your computer with a million viruses.

Media companies are getting smarter though. Need that digital file to watch a movie on your iPad? Your legal option is to actually buy the physical Blu-Ray and use the digital download option that comes with it. Even if you accidentally delete it or a big company magically removes it from your devices, you’ve got a backup.

There’s also this building you might have in your town or in a nearby city, called a library. You may have heard they are under attack? The good ones have all the music, movies and books you’d reasonably and even unreasonably desire. All it costs is a library card.

If you are even smarter, you can find the applications that allow you to turn those library movies into digital copies. Now, you’ve just circumvented late fees instead of crippling your computer with a nasty S3RI0USL33N0TA71RUS.EXE.

All joking aside, support the hard work of your favorite artists by purchasing their music, movies, TV shows and books. They deserve it.