in Technology, Video

Amazon and Disney Take Away Access to Purchased Video

From BoingBoing via @zcichy:

Last “December I bought some favorite Christmas specials for my kids with the idea they could watch them every year. Went tonight to watch one and it was gone from our library and couldn’t be found on the site at all. Amazon has explained to me that Disney can pull their content at any time and ‘at this time they’ve pulled that show for exclusivity on their own channel.’ In other words, Amazon sold me a Christmas special my kids can’t watch during the run up to Christmas. It’ll be available in July though!”

It boggles the mind that some person or people decided this would be a great way to help increase sales.

Disney has always done this with their movie purchases – they’ll pull The Little Mermaid for a year or two from shelves and then bring it “back from the vaults” in order to increase hype/demand. Which was a bit sleazy when it was VHS tapes or DVDs. But pulling people’s purchases from their digital vaults is like going into their homes and pulling the DVDs off their shelf and leaving a note saying “You’ll get it back in July!”


  1. I can’t remember if you had a conversation about “owning content” on tIRP, but for consumers to lose the ability to access individual items after paying DVD-like costs is a nightmare. Subscription service models with rotating licenses, like Netflix and Rdio, make sense in that the providers would be the ones with the key. Why offer the ability to purchase at all if the customer can’t access it forever? The mental modal of exchanging larger, physical media-like sums of money for things is too engrained in our culture for a transaction to casually occur without explicitly stating that you *may* lose access. Legal and other logistical issues aside, maybe it’s time to introduce 24hr, Tentative, and Permanent License options to major web stores like iTunes and Amazon.

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