Amazon’s Prime Video service offers a ton of hit movies and TV shows for purchase, but if you thought that buying a video was equivalent to owning a copy that could be watched indefinitely, think again.
Back in April, April Caudel sued the retail giant for unfair competition and false advertising, alleging that Amazon could terminate the viewing rights to her purchased content at any time.
Anyone who’s familiar with digital distribution and copyright legalities could have predicted what was coming, but in a motion for dismissal filed this week (via The Hollywood Reporter), Amazon made those concepts abundantly clear, noting that users were merely purchasing a limited license for viewing.
“Plaintiff claims that Defendant Amazon’s Prime Video service, which allows consumers to purchase video content for streaming or download, misleads consumers because sometimes that video content might later become unavailable if a third-party rights’ holder revokes or modifies Amazon’s license,” the original argument reads.
Unfortunately for Caudel, the lawsuit is probably going into the garbage bin because Amazon made two sound points: 1) none of the content that she purchased had actually been removed, and 2) the possibility that she may lose her viewing rights is actually in the fine print.
But waste of court time and lawyers’ fees aside, the case has been useful in reigniting the debate as to whether the conveniences of digital delivery outweigh physical ownership. While the immediacy of the former is enticing, it’s clear that Blu-rays and DVDs are the way to go for users who’d prefer not to have their collections spontaneously disappear overnight.