Apple is facing a putative class action in a federal courtroom in Sacramento, California, over the way customers can “buy” or “rent” movies, TV shows, and other content in the iTunes Store. While Apple had attempted to dismiss the lawsuit, a federal judge has denied this request.
As reported by the Hollywood Reporter, David Andino, the lead plaintiff in this case, argues the “distinction is deceptive” and alleges that “Apple reserves the right to terminate access to what consumers have ‘purchased.'”
Although Apple says that content users have already downloaded “can be enjoyed at any time and will not be deleted unless [a user has] chosen to do so,” US District Court Judge John Mendez is not sympathetic with the company’s point of view.
“Apple contends that ‘[n]o reasonable consumer would believe’ that purchased content would remain on the iTunes platform indefinitely,” writes Mendez. “But in common usage, the term ‘buy’ means to acquire possession over something. It seems plausible, at least at the motion to dismiss stage, that reasonable consumers would expect their access couldn’t be revoked.”
To counter Andino’s claim, Apple argues that plaintiff “has not alleged a valid future threatened injury under Davidson as he neither alleges ‘he stopped buying digital content, nor does he allege any changes to the iTunes Store that reasonably cause him to assume that the digital content has improved,'” to which the Judge responds:
“Apple argues that Plaintiff’s alleged injury — which it describes as the possibility that the purchased content may one day disappear — is not concrete but rather speculative,” sums Mendez, responding, “[T]he injury Plaintiff alleges is not, as Apple contends, that he may someday lose access to his purchased content. Rather, the injury is that at the time of purchase, he paid either too much for the product or spent money he would not have but for the misrepresentation. This economic injury is concrete and actual, not speculative as Apple contends, satisfying the injury in fact requirement of Article III.”
Judge Mendez did toss out the unjust enrichment claim of the original lawsuit but left open the possibility of injunctive relief that could force Apple to change the way it sells content.
You can read the full lawsuit here.
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