The issue began when Anders G da Silva, a Twitter user who discovered that several of his Apple movie purchases had vanished when he moved from Australia to Canada, shared a thread about the experience as well as Apple's response. Apple attempted to explain that the content was removed from the iTunes store due to no longer being available through the content provider.
The response caused some outcry among users, especially after Apple went on to explain that they are essentially just a "store front". Their official statement today (via SlashFilm) doesn't really go beyond that and instead simply offers a somewhat weak explanation of how users might be able to protect their purchases. You can check out the statement below.
"Any movies you've already downloaded can be enjoyed at any time and will not be deleted unless you've chosen to do so. If you change your country setting, some movies may not be available to re-download from the movie store if the version you purchased isn't also available in the new country. If needed, you can change your country setting back to your prior country to re-download those movies."
For many iTunes users, the knowledge that their downloaded purchases are safe may come as a relief, but it also may be a little frustrating. For many, the point of being able to purchase movies and other content through iTunes is the cloud-based storage and ability to access from any device. With Apple being able to delete content from the cloud at any time without warning, the download option doesn't really address the issue. It's also interesting to note that the part about changing country settings seems to specifically be in response to da Silva's issue, as his content loss occurred after changing countries.
Even with Apple's statement, the reality of digital purchases continues to be that one technically does not own the content -- movies, books, or anything else -- that they download digitally. It seems that the only things you truly own are those you buy in hard-copy form -- or download to something physical rather than the cloud.
What are your thoughts about Apple's statement? Do you do download your purchases or keep them in the cloud? Let us know in the comments below.