Who owns your digital goods?

CHOICE is looking into the issue of people losing access to digital goods they’ve paid for. One recent case is Telstra Box Office, which is closing down on 30 June. Customers who’ve paid for shows and movies will lose them unless they pay again to access them on the new Telstra/Fetch platform. That’ll be either $396 up front to buy the Fetch box or a minimum of $16.50 per month to regain access to your movie catalogue. Has anything like this happened to your digital goods - movies, music, video games, etc.?


My wife likes Betty Neels books, we purchased a lot of these on Google through their Google Books. My wife has noticed that some of these books have dropped out of the Library recently. I’m not sure of the amount or the value of the lost access.

My personal loss was of some films that were purchased through UltraViolet and it ceased operations in 2019. The business that took over the catalogs/library was US centric and as I did not have a US address I lost access to my library. Probably close to $300 worth of films and some were and are not available through other streaming services.


JB HiFi had a digital book platform for many years, but eventually closed it down. If I remember correctly, there was a way to export books using Calibre and some Adobe DRM - but it was hopelessly messy and I had only obtained ‘free’ books via JB. I just let the books vanish.


There have been a couple of examples of when purchased digital content have been lost, in discussions in the community (I am sure there may be more):


Thanks for this phb.


I have bought a bunch of books (audio and e-book) through Apple and if ever if leave, giving up my AppleID, I will lose the lot. Fortunately, I don’t need to do that and I won’t lose anything. However I have occasionally been tempted to buy via FetchTV (bought my Mighty outright) and if ever I stop being a member I would lose those. I dont think you can transfer purchased items to another drive and use something like Plex to access. I’m reasonably happy to keep using Fetch though, it now even has AppleTV as one of the available channels.


A 2019 story but still a great and stark warning about licenced product.

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Well!! That’s a bit rude. I paid for Lightroom 6 standalone (which has been well superceded but which is absolutely enough for me) and they would sue me? For what? Definitely rude.


I didn’t get the impression that Adobe themselves would be suing someone for using an older version of their software.
Sometimes software producers themselves pay other parties licence fees to incorporate features into their product.
That licence may only be for a limited time, or for a version.

The Adobe warning seems to be that users of older products could be subject to other parties legal action if found that its users were using now unlicenced features.

This was a big legal battle years ago in the Unix world about companies suing each other in courts for years over licencing.

If you never registered the software there’s not much Adobe can do, as they don’t know you have it. That assumes it is not auto-updating, in which case they could disable it via update.

Of course, if it is auto-updating you can put a firewall rule in place to prevent the software from phoning home. Specifics would depend on your operating system, any third-party firewall/security software you have, and how nerdy you want to get. You may choose to simply edit your hosts file to block your system from contacting the Adobe update website (this is probably quite different to the Adobe website, so should not affect your access to the latter).

I only have physical media (or electronic copies on my local disk drives). I also have a rigid backup scheme including mirrored / raid backups and offsite copies.

This very thing happened to me with some songs bought from Telstra but so long ago I can’t remember the details. That put me off ebuys forever. Now I have DVDs of my favourite movies and CDs of my favourite music and I download all the photos I want to keep from iCloud.