Who Will Have The Propriety of the Content We Bought Online Once We’ll Be Dead?

Source : Pixabay, The light at the end of the tunnel…
Source: Pixabay, The light at the end of the tunnel…

This question may sound a little bit creepy, because no one wants to think about the light at the end of the tunnel, but it is anyway one question that we’ll have to ask to ourselves. We all think (or almost all) that once we bought a Blu-Ray or a DVD, it will be “our own”, or “our propriety”. And some mistakes can be made. Are we the owner of the movie or of the support? The same goes for books. Are we the owners of a book itself or of its content?
Supports give us the impression to possess the product in its totality, because we will never be the owner of the work when we buy it, but beause they also bent to become obsolete. The VHS is a good example. For a few years, French people bought this support which was progressively replaced by DVDs which are themselves replaced by Blu-Ray and 3D Blu-Ray. “Be careful, 3D Blu-Ray, you are the next one on the list to be replaced” and maybe this time it will be by dematerialized content, which we buy online (on VoD services for example).
At this point, interoperability’s problem will begin. Will we be able to buy video content on a platform, then to transfer it on another platform for a reason or another one? What will happen if the platform decides to close and that all our movies are on it? We also have to ask ourselves if these contents are our propriety or if we can transfer them to another user. In theory, it is simple to say that in case of death, we let our heirs inherit our things. We only have to divide between them books and DVDs. But in practice how can we transfer contents we bought online?
Source : Pixabay, What can we lend to the new generation?
Source: Pixabay, What can we lend to the new generation?

When we buy video content (but also books, or music) on Amazon, on iTunes Store Video, we simply have the right to watch videos. Everything else is forbidden, it is written in the terms of service (or terms of use, a text which explains in what conditions we can use a platform or a service). Apple, for example, “allows a license”, which means that we aren’t the owner of the content but we can use it.
So, we have the right to use the content, but can we lend it, transfer it? For a moment, we thought Bruce Willis would help to solve this issue. Indeed, The Sun (daily tabloid in the UK) had announce that the actor wanted to ask at the American Justice to decide if he could transfer his files bought on iTunes to his heirs. Emma Heming, his wife, has indicated the information wasn’t accurate. In any case that enable us, users, to ask ourselves this question.
Thus when we look closer the terms of use (TOU) from one or another platform, more than one thing can scare us. For example, in the TOU relative to a digital book’s download on the FNAC’s website, we can read that even to lend a content isn’t possible: “all exchange, resale or letting to a third party of the digital content is strictly forbidden and will be considered like a violation of royalty subject to prosecutions”. The big head of e-commerce, Amazon, doesn’t plan what to do in case of death of an owner of one of an account.
Few questions about right of ownership remain unanswered. With the arrival of Netflix in 2014, some people talked upstream to put in place a French Cloud or a French platform to allow pool portability between the different offers of the market. Unfortunately nothing has evolved yet.

Adeline Vivo

Adeline VIVO

Etudiante en Master 2 Commerce Electronique, déjà titulaire d’un Master 2 en Droit du numérique obtenu à l’Université de La Rochelle. Passionnée par les nouvelles technologies et leurs impacts sur notre société.

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