Amazon: Those Who Purchase Movies and Shows Don’t Actually Own Them

(Image credit: Amazon)

Buying a digital movie or TV show from Amazon does not equate to ownership, the online retail giant argues. 

On Monday, Amazon asked a California federal court to dismiss a suit filed in April by California woman Amanda Caudel, alleging that position amounts to unfair competition and false advertising. Caudel filed a putative class action suit on behalf of anyone in California who purchased a streaming title from Amazon from April 26, 2016 to present. 

‘Unfortunately for consumers who chose the ‘Buy’ option, this is deceptive and untrue. Rather, the ugly truth is that Defendant secretly reserves the right to terminate the consumers’ access and use of the Video Content at any time, and has done so on numerous occasions, leaving the consumer without the ability to enjoy their already-bought Video Content,” Caudel’s suit argues. 

In its request this week to have the suit tossed, Amazon claims that it clearly states in its user agreement that when a customer buys a digital movie or show from the company, they’ve actually agreed to purchase a limited license for “on-demand viewing over an indefinite period of time.”

“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,” writes Amazon attorney David Biderman in Monday’s motion to dismiss. “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.” 

And it doesn’t matter if customers read the fine print or not, Biderman wrote. 

Amazon also argues that Caudel also has no case because she hasn’t actually been harmed—she still has access to all 13 titles she’s purchased from Amazon since April 2016.

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!