The case of the disappearing movies, iTunes edition

DRM is a sticky subject, and it still seems like movie executives and music executives are skiddish on offering up carte blanche access to their catalogs to any digital distributor. I’ve long said that DRM only hurts the honest people because people who pirate music and movies are always going to pirate their media, no matter what’s done about it. It’s been that way for decades, and it’s not going to stop now.

So, it’s with great interest that I read an article by Kevin Whipps over on Apple Gazette about movies disappearing from the App Store. We should probably clarify a little here, these movies aren’t disappearing from people’s iTunes libraries. Instead, the films are no longer offered on Apple’s iTunes store for purchase. If you made a purchase, your files still exist, but if you’re going to wait a couple weeks before purchasing an HD movie, you might want to re-think your options before forgoing the purchase. That HD film could be gone by next week.

From Whipps article he mentions that he was looking to purchase two HD films—The Hangover, and Wanted—but they’ve since been removed, or no longer offer HD versions. So, what’s this all mean? It means that the iTunes movie store is the new version of Blockbuster—older titles disappear from the store, and tracking them down might mean having to look else where.  We all know what’s happened to Blockbuster, and it’s highly unlikely that movie executives have learned anything from that story.

This isn’t good news for Apple, considering they’re selling the concept of media being available when you want it. Because as it stands now, the “when you want it,” is a limited time offer. It seems like the process is much along the same lines as the Walt Disney classics, cycling in certain films while there’s a demand for them, and then storing them away in a vault until a later date, when demand is much higher.

It’s not exactly optimal, is it?

Article Via Apple Gazette

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