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Amazon Claims Users Don’t Actually Own Their Purchased Content on Prime Video

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Amazon is arguing users do not actually own the content that they purchase from their Prime Video streaming platform, defending their ability to cut off a customer from their account, which also cuts off their access to any purchased content.

In April of 2016 Amanda Caudel sued Amazon for unfair competition and false advertising (via Hollywood Reporter), claiming the company “secretly reserves the right” to end their access to purchased content from Prime Video. Her putative class action suit was filed on behalf of herself and any California residents who bought content from Prime Video from then to now.

Now, Amazon is arguing when a user buys content from their platform, what they’re really paying for is a limited license for “on-demand viewing over an indefinite period of time” and they’re also warned of this in their terms of use.

Amazon’s newly filed motion dismisses her complaint, arguing she lacks any real standing to sue them because she hasn’t been injured, while also noting she’s bought 13 video titles from Prime Video since filing her complaint.

“Plaintiff claims that Defendant Amazon’s Prime Video service, which allows consumers to purchase video content for streaming or download, misleads consumers because sometimes that video content might later become unavailable if a third-party rights’ holder revokes or modifies Amazon’s license,” attorney David Biderman writes in the motion. “The Complaint points vaguely to online commentary about this alleged potential harm but does not identify any Prime Video purchase unavailable to Plaintiff herself. In fact, all of the Prime Video content that Plaintiff has ever purchased remains available.”

Amazon also argued that their store requires users to agree to their user agreement, which also explain that some content may suddenly become unavailable later.

“The most relevant agreement here — the Prime Video Terms of Use — is presented to consumers every time they buy digital content on Amazon Prime Video,” Biderman wrote. “These Terms of Use expressly state that purchasers obtain only a limited license to view video content and that purchased content may become unavailable due to provider license restriction or other reasons.”

Lastly, Amazon naturally argues it doesn’t matter whether or not Caudel read the fine print or not, by using their store and service she is bound by their user agreement.

“An individual does not need to read an agreement in order to be bound by it,” writes Biderman. “A merchant term of service agreement in an online consumer transaction is valid and enforceable when the consumer had reasonable notice of the terms of service.”

How do you all feel about a totally digital future for content? Losing ownership of digital titles you’ve purchased, simply because a license expired or some other reason? Sound off in the comments below!

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