The saga of my iCloud-purchased content continues.
To recap, years ago, I had a couple of iPhones and an iBook (grace of the kids, who gave us their old ones when they upgraded). I love Apple products, but the company doesn't reciprocate my love. Back in those days, the big thing was digital music and videos—and the quest by corporate copyright holders* to vanquish the pirates and get their due. I thought they went overboard on that back in the day, but generally, I agreed that, if you want something, you should do right and pay for it. So I purchased some music and videos.
Over time, I decided our house should switch over to Chromebooks and Android products. This isn't because I have anything against Apple or Microsoft. I switched because my poor Mr JoyfulC is woefully bad with computerized devices. That boy gets in trouble I couldn't even imagine! But Apple never made a version of iTunes for Chromebook, so when the iBook died and as we phased out our iPhones, we were stuck watching our purchased content on our last remaining Windows laptop. Which we didn't haul out and fire up that often. Then, when we moved back to Ottawa, I gave the laptop to a friend whose system had crashed badly. We were left with no way to enjoy the content that we'd purchased.
No, make that: we were left with no way to enjoy the content that we had purchased because it would be so very wrong to enjoy that content without some way of proving we purchased it. Because theft is bad. (⇐ This concept will return later in my rant.)
Over the years, we've also acquired a couple of Chromecasts for our TVs. The mister and I are almost clownishly frugal. We buy used, and are often lucky enough to inherit from friends or family. I wish I could assign this some sort of nobility, but the fact is, we're just cheap. Everybody needs a hobby. Being frugal is ours. We pay for everything we get, but we're careful about how much we pay. Especially these days, when something new comes along every twenty seconds, and everyone feels the urge to toss aside what they currently have for something new and improved. In those conditions, a little bit of delayed gratification can save you a bundle and still allow you to enjoy the latest and greatest—just not right this minute.
One evening, while playing around with the Chromecast, I discovered that Apple had an app on there, and I could sign into it and get my movies, at least. I've been doing that for the last year or so. Even in this time of streaming subscriptions, there are some movies I purchased through iTunes that I've never been able to get anywhere else. Such as Arsenic and Old Lace, one of my all-time favourites!
During that same period, I also purchased some content through Google's PlayMovies. I don't know how my copyright purchases will stand the test of time, but already, I see big differences. I can only play my Apple content on their devices or software. My Google content is much more flexible, giving me a good choice of devices and software (including Apple devices and software!). It's the same with many Google products. You can use them across a number of devices and platforms. For example, there is no FaceTime app for any platforms except Apple, but Google Duo (or whatever we're calling it this week), is available on Apple devices.
So I'd already decided that I regret purchasing anything from iTunes.
But then, a couple of nights ago, I tried to access my purchased content in the Chromecast Apple app, and it wanted me to sign in. I'd been in there a number of times in the past couple of months, no problem. But this time, it insisted that I sign in. And when I tried to, it said my username was invalid.
So after trying to resolve it using their (confusing and not terribly intuitive) self-help tools, I phoned support. I explained my situation, and I still have receipts for much of the content I purchased. I was told that they'd send me a link to reactivate my account within 24 hours. Good. I waited.
This morning, I woke up to this:
No explanation, nothing. So I guess I'll have to phone them back.
Maybe, in the end, they will recognize their responsibility to either ensure purchasers have the means to enjoy the content they purchased or will modify the content to allow us to keep it on our own devices. Or maybe they'll just brush me off. After all, it's not like there'd be any consequences for taking my money, and then reneging on the deal.
Over the years, I've crashed a bunch of harddrives, and in the early days, that often meant losing anything you didn't have backed up. If I had lost access to my purchased content through my own negligence, I could accept that. What I can't accept is being denied access to the content that I purchased because servicing old customers who've drifted away from Apple no longer interests them.
During the years that I made these purchases, the news was full of horrific stories of little old grandmas being hit up with six-figure lawsuits because the kiddies downloaded a couple of songs on her system. The music and film industries were self-righteous and adamant! Who could argue with their right to be paid for the copyrights that they owned??? Why, that would be stealing!
And so is selling somebody something and then denying them reasonable access to it.
I appreciate that there is some work involved in making sure that content purchasers have reasonable access to their purchases. And perhaps they should have thought of that, back in the day when they were crusading for copyright holders' rights.
We had a deal. I held up my end. I'm waiting for them to hold up theirs.
*Who often weren't the artists, as they liked to portray the face of their cause. Most were corporate investors. [back]