With the U.S. and Canada celebrating Labor Day this past weekend, we wouldn't blame you if you missed this little story. Over the weekend, word on the street was that Bruce Willis was thinking of suing Apple. The story goes that Willis wanted to be able to leave his digital music collection to his loved ones when he passed away. However, because Apple's terms state that you don't actually own the songs you're downloading, he wouldn't be able to.
However, it seems this story isn't true. While the tech world was busy reporting the story, no one thought to reach out to Willis or his representative and ask for verification. It wasn't until Monday afternoon when Willis' wife, Emma Heming, mentioned on Twitter that the story wasn't true. Bruce himself has yet to comment on the matter, and his wife hasn't said anything about it since, but it would seem Willis isn't taking Apple to court for the right to leave his digital music collection.
Though the story isn't true, it does raise a very interesting question, and one that warrants discussion: Who inherits your digital music when you die? If you've spent thousands of dollars on iTunes or another digital content service, shouldn't you be able to pass that content on to someone else? Shouldn't your next of kin benefit from the investment you've made? Conversely, you could argue that this issue is pretty black and white because people making use of services like Apple's iTunes or Amazon's MP3 store agree the terms of service from day one. If the TOS state that your right to use the content is nontransferable, then that's the end of it, right?
Do you think you should be able to leave your digital music collection to someone else? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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RIAA and co sure wants to treat digital copy infringement crimes just as harsh as real world goods crimes (even when the riaa company keeps the original) so why not treat it as real world goods in the other end as well and as thus allow it to be inherited if the parent owned it. Similar to the licensed software that can actually be sold to another user even if used in parts of the world that apply fair usage laws.
Not that they would like most of the music I like to begin with :P
What makes digital content different from anything physical?
Could you imagine if the auto industry had Terms and Conditions stating you cannot resell your car? People would be sh**ing bricks. The same goes for DRM. Could you imagine if your car had to be activated with the manufacturer to work or stopped working if your internet connection was lost?
Rights of transferability of ownership need to be settled once and for all in the courts. Along with rights of legal purchasers to not be hampered by DRM.
True, that is why I try to make minimal digital purchases of games. I've actually read the agreements Steam uses and the games they sell with their nonexclusive licences. This is why I try to buy as many physical copies of games. And then I get no-cd cracks because I know eventually if the internet ever goes out the worlds, or my own, I will still be able to play my games that I legally bought with no issues.
I really think that the world and companies are going to sh!t with all this licencing and TOS where they sometimes literally say this product isn't yours, we own it, you are just borrowing it for a certain time period.
I'm sure there's a lot of people worried about how they will get access to their loved one's iTunes collection when their loved ones die. /sarcasm