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Disney Pulls a Reverse Santa, Takes Back Christmas Shows From Amazon Customers 418

Posted by samzenpus
from the naughty-list dept.
Sockatume writes "Since 2011, Amazon Instant Video has sold a series of Christmas shorts from Disney called 'Prep and Landing'. Unfortunately this holiday season, Disney has had a change of heart and has decided to make the shorts exclusive to its own channels. The company went so far as to retroactively withdrawn the shows from Amazon, so that customers who have already paid for them no longer have access. Apparently this reverse-Santa ability is a feature Amazon provides all publishers, and customers have little recourse but to go cap-in-hand to a Disney outlet and pay for the shows again."
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Disney Pulls a Reverse Santa, Takes Back Christmas Shows From Amazon Customers

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  • Plastic Discs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Monday December 16, 2013 @03:06PM (#45706213)
    I'm very comfortable with technology, but in one sense I remain a Luddite: When it comes to video that we're going to shell out money for, I only buy it on DVD. If it's not available on DVD, we don't pony up the coin. I'll often rip the DVD and put it on my kid's iPods, but we still have the physical media. I accept that in a decade or so DVDs will go the way of the Dodo Bird and I'll have to make a change then, but for now it's plastic discs for me.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @03:07PM (#45706225)

    You bought a license to play...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @03:09PM (#45706255)

    Because Disney is a Corporation, and the one stolen from are just "little people". Corporations are people too, my friend! But only when it benefits them...

  • by LocalH (28506) on Monday December 16, 2013 @03:11PM (#45706277) Homepage

    You're not buying the goods, you're renting them. You're always at the whim of the copyright owner with regards to your continued access to the work you paid for.

    Mark my words, when physical media is gone, they'll stop selling media to you indefinitely, but charge you for the same content on a recurring basis. Not like Netflix where you're paying for access to stream any number of works, but you'll pay per month (or per access) for a single work.

    Plus, with everything so locked down and controlled by the copyright owners, much more media will be lost to time due to the inability to move it between systems freely. Almost 30 years later, you can still acquire and play the original Super Mario Bros on an authentic NES, without getting the okay from Nintendo to do so. When digital downloads are the only method to acquire media, then you can forget about buying used copies 30, 40, 50 years later. By the time copyright actually lapses and you can legally do something about it, it'll be too late as all the original hardware will likely be either destroyed or non-functional.

  • by sjbe (173966) on Monday December 16, 2013 @03:12PM (#45706291)

    The article says that Amazon called it "accidental," and that access has already been restored for those who already bought it.

    Accidental my shiney hiney. It was only "accidental" until either the PR or legal department found out about it. In any case this is EXACTLY why I do not own a Kindle. This isn't the first time this happened and the fact that they even have the ability to do this makes me pretty uncomfortable.

  • by LocalH (28506) on Monday December 16, 2013 @03:14PM (#45706325) Homepage

    The fact that it even happened should be a warning flag to stay the hell away from digital downloads as the primary means of acquiring entertainment.

    It's not so bad when it's media that you can get physically in another form (like Nintendo's Virtual Console versus the original carts). However, when you start seeing media sold only as a digital download (which already happens sometimes), then you're at the mercy of the copyright holder. Do you really trust the copyright cartel, long-term, to let you have access to their stuff without paying and paying and paying?

  • Re:my library (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Monday December 16, 2013 @03:15PM (#45706337) Homepage Journal
    Is not your library if the vendor can take it from you. You didn't buy, just got a limited permission to play it while the real owner is in good mood, and in their own terms.
  • Re:Reverse Santa? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @03:16PM (#45706371)

    Because in the end, the Grinch comes to learn the error of his ways and eventually saves Christmas. Somehow, I don't see Disney doing this...

  • by i kan reed (749298) on Monday December 16, 2013 @03:25PM (#45706507) Homepage Journal

    Oh, well, I'm sorry I voted this up from the firehose, and already got ready to abandon purchases from Amazon(and possibly sue). The differences between a technical issue and a dick move are really substantial.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @03:28PM (#45706565)

    ^^^ That. Corporations are not beholden to the same laws as we peasants.

    Bottom line is that our system is designed such that, with enough money, you can buy pretty much any verdict you want, within reason, so legal recourse against an entity the likes of Disney is well beyond the vast majority of folks. And, since your rights are only valid as far as you can defend them, megacorps like this can do just about anything they want to the rabble without fear of consequences.

  • 1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SYSS Mouse (694626) on Monday December 16, 2013 @03:29PM (#45706577) Homepage

    anyone remembered the Amazon Kindle's 1984 affair?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @03:32PM (#45706627)

    The "temporary issue" was a lack of publicity.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @03:39PM (#45706701)

    Amazon deleting copies of 1984 should've been enough to persuade you that you shouldn't do business with them. This is what happens when you deal with proprietary garbage or things that are out of your control.

  • Re:Reverse Santa? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darinbob (1142669) on Monday December 16, 2013 @03:56PM (#45706895)

    Don't blame Disney. This evil starts with Amazon, they're the ones that allow your purchased products to be stolen back again on a whim.

  • Re:Love it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fermion (181285) on Monday December 16, 2013 @03:59PM (#45706933) Homepage Journal
    A few years ago, in the time before ripping, firms could be assured to sell a product many times to the same customer. You lost an album, another sale. You upgraded from VHS to DVD, another sale. The big thing studios were fighting over was the customers right to own a perfect copy, with no generational copy penalty. Such a thing kills the long term profits of a venture. Bambi only get sold one, and is passed on from generation to generation.

    This is why I have bought almost no videos online. The nature of the sale is that I do not own the product, but merely have a license to view it for an indeterminate period. Invariably at some time, when Amazon changes format, when Apple iTunes is no more, I will lose the ability to view the content. Better to buy a DVD and make a backup. Or, honestly, steam or rent.

    As much as studios complain about streaming, through stunts like this they are pushing us all in that direction.

  • by Geek Hillbilly (2975053) on Monday December 16, 2013 @04:04PM (#45706977) Homepage
    There is a way to stop them.STOP BUYING DISNEY SHIT OR GOING TO THE PARKS.HIT THE MOFOs where it hurts them the worst,in the billfold.
  • Re:Plastic Discs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Monday December 16, 2013 @04:09PM (#45707025)

    Are you telling me that watching Spaceballs 10 times is enough?

  • by omnichad (1198475) on Monday December 16, 2013 @04:09PM (#45707027) Homepage

    It only became temporary when they got caught.

  • not surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Monday December 16, 2013 @04:14PM (#45707075) Journal

    > The company went so far as to retroactively withdrawn the shows from Amazon, so that customers who have already paid for them no longer have access.

    So now how do you feel about keeping your content "in the cloud"?

  • Re:Reverse Santa? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @04:15PM (#45707091)

    Yes, blame Disney - they absolutely had a choice as to whether to act malevolently to their paying customers or not.

    But, yes, also blame Amazon for idiotic terms.

    And yes blame the legislators for allowing the widespread fraud of misleading people in to believing they purchased/bought a product when instead the seller only gave them a short term non-negotiable, unilaterally cancellable, license. These are absolutely not sales of products and when you acquire a license then you don't "buy" or "purchase" a movie/song you license it. Any attempt to "sell" when in fact the company mean "[temporarily] license" should be met with such huge fraud charges that the companies involved will barely be able to continue trading and certainly will be unable to continue if charged again. In Amazon's case for example "one-click ordering" the movie entails purchasing data or media that includes inalienable and continuous rights to consume that media in perpetuity, so they'd need to change it to "one-click license" to avoid being fraudulently deceptive about it.

    Yes, I'm serious.

  • Re:Reverse Santa? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kaizendojo (956951) on Monday December 16, 2013 @04:31PM (#45707281)
    No, blame the end user. That's what you get for licensing your virtual entertainment and not reading the terms. I *buy* my movies on *media I own* or stored on a server *I* control. If Disney wants my stuff, they have to come into the house and physically take it. And I think I can take Mickey.
  • Re:my library (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blackiner (2787381) on Monday December 16, 2013 @04:35PM (#45707345)
    And yet you see many slashdotters practically bending over backwards trying to get DRM integrated into html nowadays... The stuff in this story is exactly what it will get you.
  • by Belial6 (794905) on Monday December 16, 2013 @04:36PM (#45707353)
    I am of the opinion that these people did not buy a license. The seller advertised the sale of the movie. The customer believed they were buying the movie. Everybody involved with the transaction referred to it as purchasing the movie. The situation where you pay for a temporary license to view a movie is called a rental, and Amazon has that as a separate transaction type.
  • Re:Reverse Santa? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NeverVotedBush (1041088) on Monday December 16, 2013 @04:49PM (#45707499)
    This is why I will buy only DVDs, Blu-Rays, and non-DRM downloaded digital media as long as they are available and not build a "digital library" hosted on anyone else's servers. We've already seen too many companies go belly up and take the content with them, or where digital content gets revoked like this.

    People need to take this as a wake-up call and go back to physical media or non-DRM downloads.
  • Re:Reverse Santa? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SkunkPussy (85271) on Monday December 16, 2013 @05:18PM (#45707837) Journal

    If you buy blu ray you're fucked as they can retroactively cancel any blue ray player hardware.

  • Re:Reverse Santa? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nsuccorso (41169) on Monday December 16, 2013 @06:36PM (#45708745)

    Furthermore if you bothered to read the Militia Act of 1792, signed into law by George Washington, you'd know that the militia was to consist of everybody who could vote under the age of 45. Gun ownership was mandatory for this group, not owning a gun was, in fact, a crime.

    Except for the women, of course. Oh, and the blacks, I imagine. And any other "non-people". I mean, while we're being slavishly faithful to the founder's intents and everything...

  • Re:Reverse Santa? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Seumas (6865) on Monday December 16, 2013 @07:08PM (#45709125)

    You have to remember, the democrats and liberals have to demonize and misrepresent libertarians because they thrive on a two party (acting as one) system and the republicans and conservatives have to demonize and misrepresent libertarians because they thrive on a two party (acting as one) system.

When in doubt, mumble; when in trouble, delegate; when in charge, ponder. -- James H. Boren

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