Apple must defend iTunes ‘Buy’ button in court

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Apple must defend iTunes “Buy” button in court
Is buying something in iTunes or Apple TV really buying it?
Photo: Cult of Mac

A federal judge gave the go ahead to a lawsuit that claims Apple is tricking customers with the iTunes “Buy” button. There are questions about whether what’s happening qualifies as a purchase of the movie or TV show.

Apple was hoping to have the suite completely dismissed. As it is, the company may have to make a change to the way it offers this type of content.

Buying something in iTunes isn’t exactly buying it

Go into iTunes or the Apple TV app and pick a random movie, like Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon. There’s a $29.99 option to “Buy” the movie. Make the purchase and you can download and watch it.

But if at some point in the future Disney stops allowing Apple to distribute that movie, those who previously bought it through Apple’s apps can no longer download it. This isn’t theoretical — it’s not hard to find people complaining on the Apple Support forums about losing access to Disney movies they bought.

Arguments on both sides

The plaintiffs in the ongoing case argue that they wouldn’t have paid as much as they did for iTunes movies if they’d known their download access could be removed at any time.

Apple doesn’t argue that it reserves the right to stop allowing people to download films and TV shows they’ve bought. Instead, the company points out that customers can download and store the digital content on their own computer in perpetuity.

Plus, a filing from the company says that “no reasonable consumer would believe” that a film/show purchased from iTunes would remain on the platform forever.

The suit moves on

U.S. District Judge John Mendez denied Apple’s request to dismiss the lawsuit, according to Courthouse News. His order means the class action suit can carry on in the Eastern District of California. And it might decide whether iTunes and Apple TV can still ask customers to “buy” content or if they have to use some other term.