FILMED SCHOOLED: How are you going to prepare for when movies drop you off?

For about nine years of my life, I was a figure skater. Around the time I started attending afternoon practice on the track, the beloved sixth-generation iPod had been released to Apple music fans and consumers everywhere.

When you compete in figure skating, no matter in what form, you have a program with music. Traditionally, there was a person on the track who had the knowledge of CD recording who could prepare you with an edited song to suit the length and melodic needs of your show, and you would wait patiently in line at the penalty box. hockey. to make it your turn to hear your show on the big speakers, put on the yellow belt that says “this is MY show” and pour out your heart with your skating.

Then, the iPod became the most popular option for downloading music from programs. It was so simple: my ice dance coach Russ rephrased the phrase “plug and chug” just to send me on my turn for a review.

One day Russ started playing a different song than he used to play for Rocker Foxtrot, a medium level dance with a 4/4 beat. The reason for this small and trivial change? The song disappeared from iTunes, Russ’s library and the store itself, with no return on the cards.

Regretting this may seem pointless, but there are many show songs that I have kept in my library to this day because remembering is a comforting practice from time to time. Half or more of the songs that I skated to in my short career, some that brought me immense joy in performing, were removed from iTunes and never saved to CD, and without a reminder of their tunes, I lose the happy ones. recollections of the performance as well.

Can iTunes, or whatever else still exists, remove this? Let’s ask a lawyer.

The henchmen of an Apple legal advisor drafted the iTunes user agreement well, empowered by the general truth that the average person will not read it before agreeing to it (also known as an adhesion agreement). When you buy something from iTunes, or any Apple product, what you are buying is not ownership of the song, TV show, movie, etc. You are purchasing a license to participate within non-transferable limits, which allows Apple, at any time, to “reserve the right to change, suspend, remove, or disable access to any iTunes products, content, or other materials, which form part of the iTunes Service at any time and without notice. “

Apple can do this through loopholes in the Federal Copyright Act of 1976. iTunes and its parent company “have the exclusive rights to do and authorize the following: … distribute copies or telephone records of the work protected by copyright to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or loan. ” That license you buy, which you probably don’t know about and can’t negotiate for more ownership, is one of those licensed copies of the original work.

OK, literally whatever. Who uses iTunes when we have streaming, the beacon of a new era of content consumption?

This same issue arose in the US District Court for the Eastern District of California not even a full year ago, involving consumers streaming movies. Plaintiff Amanda Caudel (likely chosen by the law firms representing this class action group) filed a complaint that Amazon Prime Video’s option to “Buy” a movie for nearly $ 20 is designed to “cheat, cheat and defraud consumers. “

Their case is based on the notion that “reasonable consumers will expect that the use of a ‘Buy’ button and the representation that their video content is a ‘Purchase’ means that the consumer has paid for full access to the content of video and, like any product purchased, that access cannot be revoked ”.

But Amazon has revoked, and continues, this access to content that was paid for under the guise of “buying” it rather than buying a license, basing its reasoning on the fact that this differentiation is set out in the terms of the agreement. And the court agreed with them.

This is just a fragment of the general degradation of content consumption, especially for movies. Have you ever gone to Netflix or HBO Max and tried to search for the first installment of the “Chucky” series only to find the hideous movie “Cult of Chucky”? Or have you been waiting what seems like years for “Sex and the City 2” to return to a platform that you are subscribed to?

The tumultuous mix and match of product licensing and distribution deals will only make this worse as time goes on, until one day your favorite Nickelodeon game show or anime cannot be seen except on VHS or DVD. Some of the most valuable movies, TV shows and songs that shape our memory of popular culture today are disappearing as soon as we can subscribe to another subscription service. Attached to them are personal memories, emotions, and insights that can also be lost.

I’m not saying you should log into eBay and go for that somewhat friendly looking VHS player that will bring you visual satisfaction and false social standing. There is a broader membership contract at stake here, where we as consumers have virtually no bargaining power over the streaming giants and hedge funds who mix their licensing deals from time to time in their witch cauldrons.

In the meantime, snuggle up to your favorite “9 to 5” DVD for a little more tonight.

Lauren Mattice is a senior writer on film culture. She is also the digital managing editor for the Daily Trojan. His column, “Film Schooled”, is published every other Wednesday.

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