No, Apple isn’t deleting your iTunes movies

“The internet is flipping out with stories like, ‘Apple can delete your movies any time it wants,'” Jeff Gamet writes for The Mac Observer. “No, Apple isn’t deleting movies people bought through iTunes, but one man’s heading with mysteriously missing movies underscores how messed up international movie licensing is.”

“Anders G da Silva shared his experience on Twitter. Some movies he bought through iTunes disappeared from his streaming library,” Gamet writes. “The response from Apple was that the ‘content provider removed these movies from the Canadian Store. Hence, these movies these movies are not available in the Canada iTunes Store at this time.'”

“A critical piece of information was missing when the missing movies report first started circulating: da Silva had recently moved from Australia to Canada (via CNET). He purchased the movies in Australia, and it seems the had different licensing terms in Canada,” Gamet writes. “Since da Silva was trying to stream movies he bought in Australia while in Canada, they were blocked.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Moral of the story: Don’t move to Canada.

(Hey, you, know, we kid. As always, we love all Canucks.)

Apple is deleting films purchased from iTunes Store – and don’t expect a refund – September 13, 2018

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. The fact remains that DRM is a customer-hostile technology that confuses and complicates.

    For instance, why can’t iTunes keep the Australian account signed in as well as the Canadian account? Why can’t it ask for the password of the account when played?

    On iOS devices, you can sign out of an account on the App Store without all the apps downloaded under it breaking until it is signed in again. This behaviour is inconsistent.

    1. I think that’s to comply with the law. They agreed distribution for one country, not another.

      I entirely agree it is user hostile, and have been frustrated with the nonsense of the film industry ever since this went from a technical problem (NTSC v PAL v SECAM) to an artificial problem the industry chose to implement. When digital arrived I thought ‘problem solved’ but I was naive.

  2. So does this mean if people move countries for one reason or another they no longer have access to some of their purchases until they happen to travel back to the country the media was purchased?

    1. I think that the problem lies in the fact that when you move countries an open local bank accounts, you can no longer use your account signed in from the old country. If you want to play something you bought on your other account, it won’t work until you sign out of your new account into the old one.

      1. Does that affect all your other App Store and iTunes purchases? I suspect there may be an account conversion process, but would you be able to ‘link’ your Apple accounts in different countries to be able to access the ‘authorized’ media you purchased? Or would you just have to have multiple accounts you switch between?

    2. This would be the same with DVD wouldn’t it? They are region coded. Take it with you between countries and it would stop working. There would be work around a, but it is designed to work exactly this way by the movie industry.

  3. “Since da Silva was trying to stream movies he bought in Australia while in Canada, they were blocked.”

    The moral outrage is still quite applicable. Has Apple Australia issued refunds, has Apple Canada issued credit? If foreign earned money being repatriated? Is there one Apple or many?

    1. They would only be liable if they forced him to emigrate.

      Apple can only sell what it has the right to sell. If it only owns the right to sell a video in Australia, it cannot sell it (or even give it away) in Canada. Somebody else owns those rights and could sue both Apple and the end-user if those rights are violated. That’s why you sometimes see a note on Netflix or Hulu, “Not available in Canada.” They only own the US rights to that show and cannot stream it into Canada.

      UK residents can watch BBC, ITV, etc. online, but those services are unavailable to IP addresses outside the country. The shows are licensed to somebody else in those places.

      Same thing with why cable and streaming services in the US can only provide live broadcast network programming from a willing local affiliate, if there is one. The affiliate owns local carriage rights and the network or another affiliate cannot infringe them. If you live in Dallas, your streaming channel lineup may be completely different than in an adjacent TV market.

      Not Apple’s fault, and it is not liable for the consequences.

        1. What moral outrage? If the guy returned to Australia tomorrow his films will still be there. Why should Apple refund?

          And yes. I live in one of those countries where 50% or more of Netflix’s content cannot be screened due to all these licensing issues. So I pay the same price for less content.

          1. The true solution has been described here. Rip the DRM away or own physical media.

            Frankly, this is cause for legislation. The US won’t likely do it, but the EU might. Imagine if books were geographically restricted, would you defend that?

            1. “Target sold it to me, not my problem what Martha did. Morally anyway.”

              Interesting that you are arguing that the creator has no rights or at the very least that the rights of the distributor (Target or Apple) are more important than the rights of the creator.

              That’s an odd stance to take given your views on censorship.

              Or is it that you just don’t care what the creator wants as far as control of what they created? You want what you want and the rest of the world be damned? Your rights above all others, even those who create the content?

            2. As a consumer I paid for what is a durable good. I paid it to the seller who is accountable to me. I am not accountable to the producer.

              See how that works?

              Now regarding my views on censorship…
              Yes the producer should be able to sell wherever they like. They didn’t ask me about Target or Walmart.

            3. Morally, the seller is the creator. Target or Walmart or Apple is just a distributor. You have a moral obligation to respect the rights and wishes of the creator. It’s okay to be selfish and want your content the way you want it without regard for the rights and wishes of the creator who is the real seller but don’t wrap that in your morality blanket. You’re just being selfish and putting your rights above the rights of the seller. How dare the content creator want me to pay again to stream her show in a different country! That is her right. Apple doesn’t get to take away her rights and neither do you.

            4. Want to play word games? I have a relationship with the entity to which I gave my money in exchange for goods. If that entity denies me the goods for which I paid without recourse or refund , it is moral theft.

              I have no negotiated relationship with the producer.

              And yes I favor my rights, just as the seller and producer favor theirs. What’s the matter with you?

              BTW, the Fair Use Doctrine, which permits non-commercial duplication of copyrighted works for archival purposes has been tested, and upheld in court. Breaking DRM for such purposes is legally and morally acceptable.

            5. “And yes I favor my rights”

              That’s it right there. You’re fine taking away the rights of creators and artists who are the actual sellers as long as you get what you want. Enough with your artificial construct that the distributor is the seller. Nope. The creator is the seller and you are taking away their rights.

            6. You are favoring my being ripped off by the creators, and yet, I didn’t but from the creators, I didn’t give them my money.

              And if the creators are imposing unfair terms upon me, you bet you’re bippy I have the right to counter it. I repeat, what’s the matter with you?

            7. “you bet you’re bippy I have the right to counter it. I repeat, what’s the matter with you?”

              Uh, I’m not American for one. That’s what is the matter with me. Respecting the rights of artists and creators and not putting myself first above the good of the community or thinking it is okay to take away the rights of others just because it gets me what I want… psshaw only people with something wrong with them would respect the rights of others! You put the ME in America.

          2. Imperfect analogy: you buy a Martha Stewart item at Target. You then decide to exchange it for another size. In the intervening week, she has moved her US licensing rights to Walmart. Target can’t help you, because they don’t have the legal ability to provide the replacement item. Walmart wasn’t paid for the item, so they won’t exchange it, either. Target can’t take back the old item, because they can’t return or resell it, so they probably have the right to refuse a cash refund. If the item is defective, you will have to deal with the manufacturer directly.

            Apple doesn’t have any more ability to download something in Canada when it doesn’t have the Canadian rights than Target has to sell Martha Stewart merchandise without a valid license.

  4. There is another situation that can occur. Apple may not be actively deleting your movies, but they can delete the ones in THEIR library. So if you’re stupid like me, and you rely on Apple for storing all of the movies you purchased, so that you can stream them at will, be aware it is possible that the movie you purchased may no longer be in their library.

    This happened to me with Avatar. It was listed under purchased, but Apple had somehow lost the rights to distribute or something.

    So I couldn’t play it, nor could I download it again.

    Months later I tried again. Avatar was in their library. I tried to stream it and download it, but no joy. Apparently the new copy of Avatar in their library was under a new license, and I had to purchase again.

    So be smarter than me.

    Download your movies, music, and television shows and strip the DRM and keep them on external media. There are no guarantees.

      1. And the first and only comment so far (by “idarrin”) is saying the exact same thing happened to them as thetheloniousmac, with different movies.

        When it comes to DRM and movie rights, you can definitely bet on a variation of Occam’s Razor… given two scenarios involving DRM or media licensing, the worse of the two is more likely to be true.

    1. It sounds wrong to not reinstate the customer’s ability to stream/download a purchased title that may have been removed in the past but added back to the library in the future. Purchasing the same title twice? What’s stopping the creator and distributor from repeating the same in the future for multiple titles to squeeze extra profits?

  5. I always see these flaming Hindenburg stories about people’s lost battles in the Apple Ecosystem. I just don’t get it.. if I ever had problems it’s because of something I did 99% of the time. Otherwise my 6 year old Macbook Pro and 1 year old 2017 iMac 5K run like the Energizer bunny. If I had the problems that ya’ll have here, I’d get a job driving the city bus. The pay ain’t bad and good benefits. No DRM issues.

  6. I purchased Mission Impossible (one of the recent ones) and watched it on a plane… had to shut it off 10 mins before end because we were landing.. waited a couple months, now its gone.. had to buy it again…

  7. It’s all about what owners want. Licensing content is regional and situational because different ownerships demand different requirements producing a tangled mess of jurisdictions.

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