Nolte: If Apple Can ‘Lose’ 650 of Steven Van Zandt’s Movies, Yours Sure Aren’t Safe

Steven Van Zandt attends the 38th Annual Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony a
Theo Wargo/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Steven Van Zandt claims Apple TV lost 650 of his movies. If that can happen to a Steven Van Zandt, it can surely happen to you.

He laid out what happened in a few tweets that I will edit into a couple of paragraphs:

Apple TV lost my 650 movies. That I own. Every upgrade in my Apple phone makes it worse. Our entire universe can be hacked or lost at any moment. The new billionaires that have addicted us to a new completely defenseless world need to be held accountable. … The movies are not the point. The point is how fragile this new world is that we now completely dependent on for everything. … I found them on my phone. But they’re no longer on my Apple TV. Which I depend on when I’m on the road. Which is two weeks away!

My very competent media guy was on the phone with them for hours. They said the problem is beyond their ability to help. It is a software problem from “upstairs!” A problem I have to assume millions of others are having and will therefore get fixed in our lifetime. Pathetic.

So, on top of being Steven Van Zandt, he’s got a media guy, and he still lost 650 movies he thought he owned.

Steven Van Zandt performs with Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band at Barclays Center on April 3, 2023, in New York, New York. (Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Sorry, but you do not own your digital copies of anything. Some of us have known this for years:

What this means is that if Disney, for example, decides it doesn’t want to allow Vudu to sell its movies anymore, the company can have Vudu turn off Disney movies. Unlikely as that may be, theoretically the service could block access to movies you’ve already purchased — as the terms state, “[Y]our ability to stream or download Content may terminate if our licenses terminate, change or expire.”

So, no, you don’t own your digital files, and theoretically you could at some point be prevented from watching or listening to them. In reality, your digital collection is probably safe for the foreseeable future—but if the very idea of a company locking you out of your movies and music makes you angry, we suggest embracing physical media such as 4K Blu-rays and CDs, which will likely survive any digital-media apocalypse.

“Purchasing” movies through a digital distributor such as Apple or Vudu is about as safe as asking your brother-in-law to keep your DVD collection in his rented storage unit. If he stops paying the bill, the storage unit will repossess everything in that unit, including your DVD collection. If the storage unit closes down…

But that’s the worst-case scenario. There are all kinds of ways you don’t own your digital collections… You can’t pass them on, or lend them out, or resell them…

Listen, I am in no way preaching from above. Dummy me went digital. Now I’m spending a fortune to go back to hard copies where the fascist leftists cannot disappear, rewrite, or thought police them… You see, when I went digital, I thought America was still America. My bad.

What happened to Van Zandt is not a bug; it’s a feature. You will own nothing and like it is the future. We used to buy cars, now we lease them. We used to buy computer programs; now we subscribe to them. We used to buy books, music, movies, videogames, and TV, now we subscribe. We subscribe to the radio! We subscribe to apps, to certain features in our cars and appliances… And after we’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, we will find ourselves old and with nothing to show for it. We will be wards of the state.

And that’s the whole idea.

If you don’t own it, you’re a slave to it, and if they can take it away from a Steven Van Zandt, what do you think they will do to you?

If you can’t hold the product or the title or the deed in your hand, it ain’t yours, and the fine print says they can take it away any time they want. They can take it away because you believe men can’t become women, or you oppose gay marriage, or you voted for Trump, or just to watch you squirm like the bugs you refuse to eat.

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