Jokes about the iTunes End User License Agreement have been around for almost as long as the media management service itself, but that hasn’t made the 1500-word document any less labyrinthine to the average reader who just wants to listen to some goddamn music. At this point, most of us just accept that the fine print boils down to “We own you, so deal with it” and wearily click “Accept.” Still, we do get an occasional pointed reminder that Apple’s online “store” is really more of a ramshackle rental van, and that anything you “buy” from them is likely to someday vanish in a puff of over-employed scare quotes.
Case in point: The story of Twitter user Anders G da Silva, who posted a series of correspondences with the service, cordially questioning what the fuck happened to a trio of films he’d “bought”—sorry, we’ll cut “that” out—from the iTunes store. Apple’s response: An elaborate, slightly sheepish shrug, and an explanation that it had lost the license to those particular films. Whoops!
Apple Support did offer da Silva a couple of rental credits, in case he needed the concept of transience beaten into his head a little more firmly. When he complained and asked for a refund—on account of the company not giving him the thing he paid them for—they explained that they’re just a “storefront,” with no control over how long the stuff they sell stays available, and then tossed him two more credits. Anyway, the moral of the story here is two-fold: First: Anders G da Silva can totally hook you up with some free Apple rentals. And second: Maybe hold on to your DVDs.