Bruce Willis to sue Apple over right to bequeath his iTunes music collection to his daughters

“Bruce Willis is preparing to take Apple to court over who owns his huge digital music collection after he dies,” Fran Wetzel reports for The Sun.

“The Die Hard actor, 57, wants to leave the haul to his daughters Rumer, Scout and Tallulah,” Wetzel reports. “But under iTunes’ current terms and conditions, customers essentially only ‘borrow’ tracks rather than owning them outright.”

Wetzel reports, “Chris Walton, an estate specialist at Irwin Mitchell, told a newspaper: ‘Lots of people will be surprised on learning all those tracks and books they have bought over the years don’t actually belong to them. It’s only natural you would want to pass them on to a loved one.'”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “David E.” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take:


      1. Yeah, really! What a doofus. Obviously trying to make a point but why not sue the RIAA, etc. They’re the hardasses inthis type of situation since they “own” the rights, etc. This isn’t an Apple issue. Really, though, just give ’emm the passwords and leave a really generous balance on your iTunes account!

      2. “Just give your Apple stuff to your kids.”

        So you have 6 kids. Don’t you know anything about birth control?

        Seriously though, you probably only have one digital copy of all you digital media. Perhaps you have a digital backup as well.

        You have 6 kids. They will live at 6 different locations, if you’re lucky. You will need 6 copies of your digital media. That is obviously in violation of your iTunes agreement. The one you did sign but did not read.

        The paragraph that says you can copy for backup and have on several of your own machines, even the one you bought for Mom but you cannot redistribute to several other people in several other locations so they can redistribute them later on to several others and so on and so on.

        The RIAA may have a point.

          1. Problem is the people who can’t AFFORD the 6 kids are the ones having that many and letting the rest of us pay for them. The people that actually care about being able to PAY THEIR BILLS are only having one, or maybe two at the most. Or none! I know many who don’t even want to have a kid in this screwed up era.

            1. Do you have any idea of who will take care of you when you retire? It will be THOSE children that you are putting down now.

              We pay for them when they are young to take care of us when we are old. Stop being so selfish and short sighted.

            2. “Do you have any idea of who will take care of you when you retire?”

              That’s the problem with you. Your reading comprehension. What’s more troubling is you probably believe the stuff you write.

              IT22 questions the motives of anyone having more children than they can reasonably afford to raise and you question IT22’s ability to take care of himself, if and when he retires! WTF?

              Just because YOU live like that, doesn’t mean every one else is selfish and short sighted.

              What advice to you give to those who can’t have children? Adopt, so they’ll have some one to wipe their ass when they retire?

          2. JP, humanity could certainly afford (and, in the long run, greatly benefit from) a gradual, downward trend in world population for a few decades. You don’t have to take the average birth rate to zero – just reduce it to something slightly below replacement level. Your inputs on this forum would be more valuable if you avoided going to the extreme viewpoint on everything.

        1. “So you have 6 kids. Don’t you know anything about birth control?”

          Don’t YOU know anything about adoption and minding your own business? Assuming that you understand why people have the number of kids they do, and where those kids came from is utterly stupid and judgmental. The number of kids I have and the “how”s and “why”s are none of your business.

        2. You can maintain one iTunes account and route all music, video, and app purchases through it. There would still be limits on the number of computers that could be connected, but you would not have to “duplicate” protected files.

    1. We as consumers have never “owned” the music, movie, apps. We only own the media they are on and the right to use in certain ways.

      What about LP’s, 45’s, cassettes, DVD’s, etc.? No ownership of the music or movie.
      What about Apps, computer programs, etc.? No ownership of the software.

      What about the physical media? For the most part, you own the LP, DVD, CD, etc. and the right to use.
      What about the iTunes (and others) media? Not of the software, but only right to use.

      This has been for ages and will continue to be so. If you don’t agree, put yourself in the position of the artist or programmer. Would you sell your creation (app or music) to another person to have complete control over? Sane people would not.

      (eg. You sell to me your lovingly created music for $20. I like it and promote it to the world and since I now OWN it, I can resell it to as many people as I want. I start up a radio station network and play it continuously on the air. Is that how you want this to be? Software programmers already have this problem in the stealing of IP.)

      I think Peter Drescher describes it very well when he states: “Phonograph records permitted the monetization of the performance … without the performer. But make no mistake, the product being sold was the vinyl platter, not the grooves on it. The information contained on the record, reconstructed by the record player, can be thought of as a marketing ploy, designed to encourage customers to buy more discs.” O’Reilly Blogger

      PS. It has now been twittered that the original story is untrue.

      1. Own it today on DVD and Blu Ray

        The sales pitch on the TV commercials specifically say you own it when you purchase the DVD or Blu Ray. The question has yet to go before a court, and I doubt it would go before a jury, since anyone who ever purchased a DVD or Blu Ray was lied to, and that would prejudice 99% of potential jurors.

        The explicit expectation of purchasing is to obtain ownership, always has been, always will be. The obvious exceptions are marked as rental and lease.

        Renting the ‘license to view’ is crap, because if it was just a license the studios should provide an inexpensive replacement to damaged media. They don’t. Their solution is so what, who cares, get your ass down to FYE and buy a new one.

        1. Yes, you own the physical media the movie is on. You do not own the movie or the rights to it.

          Think about it: Warner Bros. spends $250 million or so to make The Dark Knight Rises. And you get to “own” the movie, including distribution rights, rights to characters, merchandising rights, etc. for the low, low price of $24.99 on Blu-Ray?

          Come on, think about it.

    2. what a stupid stupid claim
      the type of thing that keeps progress from moving forward
      no he did not buy that music – that is why it is so darn cheap
      come on people and come on Bruce Willis
      talk about moronic and ridiculous

    1. What a crock, if anyone has the industry connections and weight to actually affect the licensing bodies (like the MPAA and the RIAA) who concoct and require those “lisensing agreements” it is someone like bruce Willis. He doesn’t have to worry about pissing off any of the studio heads or industry bigwigs who run the MPAA or RIAA because #1. he doesn’t really ever need to work again and #2. his draw is money in the bank, put him in your movie and the audience will come.

      Nope, i’m afraid this is just another hollywood publicity stunt likely dreamt by his agent or publicist who noticed that bruce has not had any “face time” in the news recently and thought it was time to change that.

        1. Why is it you are moving the goalposts?

          Apps and books are very different (and different between each other) And I might ask is apple restrictions on books at the behest of the owners (publishers & authors)?
          And how do you determine that apple likes them?
          Apple permitted the RIAA to dictate restrictions (copy protection) on music even though Steve Jobs was against it (if you know your copy protection history you know that Steve & Apple was (almost completely) responsible for the removal of copy protection from purchased music.
          So, I am afraid you supposition doesn’t hold water (from multiple angles)

            1. I see the negative responses targeting Ixol Phaane, but no protest from the same old reactionary faithful on this forum against the post from handsomesmitty that kicked off the political slant, nor against attorney for the original “huffer” comment.

              Why should anyone take your viewpoints seriously?

          1. Never have met a living breathing Libtard, but know endless examples of Conservatard- especially the knuckle dragging variety.

            Mr Willis is doing us all a service. The media industry has gotten fat by reselling the same content over and over in different media formats. It’s unmitigated greed.

            1. Just because someone is wrong about many things does not mean they are wrong about everything.

              For example, although Paul Ryan lied his arse off during TeabaggerFest 2012 in Tampa (RNC), I’m sure he knows his street address, what day it is and the breed of his dog.

            1. Bruce Willis is a well known ultra right wing conservative. It doesn’t matter to me, but that’s what he is. I care little about what he or any famous person says about politics. Oh, and I don’t care what any of you think either

    1. Unfortunately not everything is DRM free yet. I still have a few gigs of early iTunes store music that they haven’t upgraded (and I’m guessing probably never will) to iTunes plus.

  1. I find this rather interesting. No doubt Apple are acting on the principal that when you are alive you are allowed to access and enjoy the music and videos that you have purchased but you are not allowed to give them away. This is why several enablers have been taken to court for allowing third parties to download.
    Once you are dead then all your rights regarding the music/videos that you own must die with you. Surely their must/can be no difference between giving copyrighted material away just because you are dead.

    1. So, when I die all my books must be returned to the publisher? No, they were purchased, I own them. So the iTunes store must no be selling anything, just long term rentals. Call them that, just for clarities sake.

  2. Won’t it work, if they’re all on the same Apple ID account? At least up to five. Would be a problem to pass onto all the grand kids, though with the limit being five.

    1. All current iTunes Store song downloads are DRM-free. So they should work for anyone. For older 128 kbps downloads that have the FairPlay DRM, just pay for iTunes Match ($25) for one year to “convert” (re-download) them to 256 kbps DRM-free files (which will continue to play even if the iTunes Match subscription expires).

      So there is no “technical” obstacle to doing it. But there are “legal” aspects… and that’s a different matter.

    1. @BDD

      Just to bring you up to current times, As others have said, iTUNES has been DRM FREE SINCE 2009.

      And also thoes MP3’s you get from Amazon are terrible compared to the HQ AAC files you receive from Apple.

      You can also use Apples iTunes music files on most all hardware also, it doesn’t have to be an Apple made hardware product.

      I have purchased from Amazon also and it’s fine, but it’s more cumbersome to use when needing to transfer and reencode.

  3. I suspect that he really wants to just sue Apple over the terms! I agree that he could do it (transfer it now) if he wanted. Is he ignorant of this? And is his lawyer just not telling him all of his options? HE certainly is going to spend more on the lawyer than would if he just hired someone to save in to totally untraceable format.

  4. That’s one of the reasons why I am a physical media kind of guy. Always have been, always will be. That being said, what is to prevent him from burning unprotected tracks to CDs and ‘bequeathing’ the physical media, in theory? Surely paying someone to do that would cost less than a silly court battle. If it is a ‘personal use’ issue, as long as the CDs are burned while he is alive and ‘uses’ them (to install music on a new iMac, for example, that might or might not come into his daughters’ possession someday, for example), the issue should be moot.

    1. The trouble with Apple toilet training their users to be utterly brainless by hiding away the file system for starters results in brain dead stupidity. That’s what America is sliding into these days.

      There is such a thing called the music, books, movies folder in Finder where all your iTunes music files are stored. Simply transfer those files out to your children and you’re done.

      1. Is this make a stupid comment day? Toilet training? Really?

        How is this.

        Me: Could you go ahead and open Windows Explorer
        Typical Windows User: It’s open, what website do you want me to go to?

        Now, that is a real world example of probably the typical user of Windows. No wait. A typical security professional that I talk to every day.

        The problem isn’t that Microsoft failed or that Apple “hid the file” system but that people are lazy or stupid or just do not want to bother with learning.

    2. Perhaps because in another 15-20 years the physical media you’re referring to will go the way of the cassette tape, 8-track, laserdisc, etc. As for Apple, I sincerely doubt they’ll continue to install CD/DVD players in Macs as little as 5 years from now.

      I suggest you buy up enough CD music players now while you still can if you intend to listen to your purchased music on that medium.

      1. Considering that today, I could purchase new both an LP record player and cassette tape player, I am not overly concerned with ever not being able to listen to a CD. I appreciate you caring though! 🙂

  5. Just looked at a load of comments on the original article. Most people are like,
    “Give me a break, greedy, rotten Apple; I purchased this content, who are you to tell me what I can and can’t do with it?”

    Most people need to grow up and get a life. Oh, you can do what you like with what you purchase, can you? Since when?

    Dude, I BOUGHT that car, of course I can drive it on the wrong side of the road if I want to.

    Dude, I BOUGHT that gun, who says I can’t take it to the movie theatre and shoot up a load of people!

    Good grief.

      1. Sure my examples were extreme — that’s called taking a principle to its logical conclusion to see how absurd it is.

        That’s a very valid, and effective, way to argue.

        Apparently, we CAN”T just do anything we might want to with everything that we “own”.

        So, why act like we can in this one narrow case of downloadable material?

        Because it’s not “hurting” anybody? That’s not good enough, because that just gets out of hand, too.

        Perhaps the law needs to change regarding music and copyrighted material. But that’s another issue.

        I was commenting on the mentality that people can do whatever they please with things they “own”. Patently false.

        Now, perhaps Apple needs to be more clear; but that is, again, another issue. Perhaps people need to be aware that what they bought is not the music itself, but a license to use it in a certain way.

          1. I’m nuts because I recognize that there are all kinds of restrictions in life, including the way we use things that we own?

            Not following you, sorry.

            I stated a principle or fact of life, and attempted to prove it. Perhaps I am nuts in thinking that anyone who disagrees would have something to say other than resorting to name calling? 😉

            Here’s who I think are nuts (but no more so than the rest of us):

            people who feel “entitled” and think they have all sorts of “rights” that they just don’t have;

            people who make a big stinkin’ deal out of their rights when it affects what they want to do, but can’t think through a principle and live with any integrity when the principle affects them adversely;

            people who are so politically correct that they get incensed or “offended” one moment over an extreme example, but the next moment swear and call someone nuts and wish they could sensor them.

            1. You’re taking a totally different principle to its logicial conclusion.

              Your hypotheticals should read:

              Dude, I BOUGHT that car, of course I can bequeath it to my children!

              Dude, I BOUGHT that gun, who says I can’t bequeath it to my children!

              It’s a question of if we’re all buying songs from iTunes or renting them.

            2. Actually he’s right you didn’t “buy” the song at all (in any form)
              You can’t play it for a paying audience for instance (SAME WITH “OWNING” the DVD BTW, you can’t play that movie for a paying audience that is an entirely different license.)

              People ARE oversimplifying, what you have done is buy a license to listen to that track, as to if that right can be resold (or bequeathed) is likely in the agreement you clicked “agree” to at the time you set up your account.

              I have to think this is just another hollywood publicity stunt (because as I said earlier bruce willis can easily exert leverage on the people who actually make the rules (the RIAA and the MPAA) So, if he really wanted to make a difference (rather than just get his name in the news) he likely would have gone that way, rather than to “sue Apple”)

    1. Idiot!

      I can give my car to anyone.

      i can give my gun to anyone, as long as I go through the proper channels.

      ‘Most people need to grow up and get a life. Oh, you can do what you like with what you purchase, can you? Since when?’

      Since always. Dude!

      1. “Since always!”
        “As long I go through the proper channels.”

        Ahh, thanks for proving my point for me. There are all sorts of restrictions on how we use all sorts of things we “own”. That’s all I was saying. Pure and simple. Why everyone is acting surprised is really odd.

        One of the restrictions on how you use a car that you own is how and where you drive it.

        Now, some of those restrictions, on some things, do indeed pertain to “giving”.

        Also, is a song the same as a car or a gun? I don’t know. Do we “own” someone’s creativity and intellectual property just because we own the piece of plastic it might reside on? Another issue.

        What happens when the physicality of it is no longer static and it can be replicated easily and ad infinitum? Does our “ownership” of it suddenly become conversely more concrete and more “rightful”? People act like it does, presumably because they think it doesn’t do any “harm”.

        Since we can all recognize and admit that there are indeed restrictions on our use of things that we do indeed own free and clear (that’s part of growing up)… then how much more so on the things where the ownership is nebulous and where more people’s rights intersect (such as the artist’s)?

      2. A car or other similar object isn’t really comparable. You may be able to give it away, but unlike tracks of recorded music, you cannot make an exact copy, give it to someone, and keep the original for your own use. A better example is the license plate(s) and registration for your car. Technically, you don’t own them, but they allow you to use your car on public roads. And you certainly can’t use them on five different cars at once!

    2. I’ve been reading comments on the original articles lately too… Especially the Samsung trial articles.

      I just sit back and shake my head in awe. It’s seriously unbelievable.

  6. I agree with Bruce here.
    But we had this talk over CD’s a while back. Even though we bought them we don’t own the actual tracks. I think he is taking the wring entity to court. He should really sue the record labels and the companies representing their interests. But I do agree in heart with Bruce. It’s really strang. We buy but we don’t own. Of course, if we owned the tracks after we bought them we could do what ever we wanted with them with today’s law I guess. This matter is complicated.

    Go BRUCE!

    I mean, the name of his daughters? Scout? Rumer? Tallulah? WTF?

    1. Sounds like all he has to do is hire someone to burn him a million CDs and he can just give those to them- just import and boom. Suing isn’t wise here… Better to find a work around.

    2. Scout is named after Scout Finch (the daughter of Atticus and the main protagonist) in To Kill A Mockingbird.

      Rumer is named after Rumer Godden, the British novelist who wrote the excellent The Greengage Summer and Black Narcissus which is a classic Powell/Pressburger movie.

      As for Tallulah, who knows – Tallulah Bankhead would be my guess, but maybe they (or more likely Demi Moore) just liked the name.

      Maybe it’s a little self-indulgent to name your children after your heroes/heroines in literature, but it’s probably better than naming them Candy or Kourtney with a deliberately quirky spelling.

        1. I wonder what the split is with those who are named Dylan after the poet and those who are named after Bob, who is really Bob Zimmerman.

          I knew a little boy called Dylan after the singer: sadly he was killed before his 20th birthday by a lunatic with a knife.

  7. It’s easier to sue iTunes because then they will have to put pressure on the labels. I agree with him on this for many reasons. I made a iTunes account years ago the. Mobileme came out which I bought witch then became iCloud now I cannot link my old iTunes account with my new iCloud account and it has drove me crazy and the apple rep told me unfortunately I can’t tranfer my library to the iCloud account. It is a very sticky situation wish him the best them labels are the devil they don’t want any change to their revenue system no matter how wrong and not with the times they are.

  8. iTunes music that you purchased is yours, this story is B.S.
    There is no more DRM on the music you bought. If you bought it you can keep it. In our next story from the Sun, baby born with 3 heads are better than 1.

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