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What Happens to Your Digital Property When a Company Goes Out of Business?



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<p> A handful of digital services is going to be released this year, and you have probably purchased digital copies of games or movies from them. </p>

<p> The number of users who have not had access to digital content has not reached that much. We are not discussing something theoretical, either; </p>
<h2> You'll Probably Lose Some Digital Property This Year </h2>
<p> It's fair to assume it will shut down in 201<div class=
9; that's just the way things work. But the big three that we know about are the Wii Shop Channel, the Ultraviolet movie streaming service, and the Google+ social network.

The Wii Shop Channel What a service that digital copies video games, and most Nintendo games. Nintendo consoles

Ultraviolet is a video service that lets you purchase movies. Some DVDs come with codes that you can use to make a digital copy of the movie on Ultraviolet. This is mostly a movie streaming service, but you can use it to download movies. Sadly, Ultraviolet is shutting down on July 31, 2019. If you want to save your Ultraviolet purchases, the company suggests transferring licenses to a competitor's service, like Movies Anywhere. These competitors are probably just trying to make the most of their ultraviolet purchases.

Google+ is shutting down on April 2, 2019, and Google is going to clear all the data from the Google+ servers. But you have the opportunity to save your data before Google kills the service.

Looking at this list, This is not really the property that you are looking for, but it is valuable for personal and public archives, and will probably come as a source of mild frustration for archivists in the future.

you'll notice an annoying trend. These services, which are either failing or being discontinued, are not really worth anything to preserve your digital property.

It's kind of understandable for Ultraviolet and Google+. Ultraviolet can not afford a solution, and Google+ what a flop from the get-go. But why is Nintendo operating like this? Super Mario Bros 3?

For DRM.

Most Digital Property Is Controlled By DRM

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is an anti-piracy measure that prevents you from producing or using illegal copies of downloaded material. It's a digital form of the anti-piracy signal on VHS tapes. Usually, DRM protected content.

Steam games, iTunes purchases, and Wii Shop Channel are all considered DRM protected content.

 man dressed as a pirate smiling as he places CD's inside his laptop
Cunaplus / Shutterstock

 19659003] DRM makes it extremely difficult to transfer old files over to new hardware. The Wii Shop Channel is an obvious example, and in the case of iTunes purchases, a common complaint </p>
<p> Streaming services like Ultraviolet and Amazon Video technically utilize A form of DRM to prevent piracy. When you purchase a movie on these services, you're actually purchasing a streaming license that's attached to your account. Some social media services have forms of DRM for obvious security purposes. You can not download another user's data, and you can not download your data unless you know your password. </p>
<p> Right from the get-go, there are some obvious drawbacks to this format. If Apple goes out of business and iTunes shuts down, will you still be ready to open the files that you purchased? Distributors Are Forced To Use DRM </h2>
<p> Before we complain too much about DRM, you should know that distributors have no choice but to use it. Napster rattled CD sales. </p>
<p> Licensing companies therefore want to continue the 20th-century trend of reselling old media in new formats. When cassettes got big, people replaced the albums that they already had on vinyl with cassettes. People replace their cassettes with CDs, and they replace their CDs with digital files. With the invention of digital files, you would think that re-packaging music would be a thing of the past. </p>
<p> A lot of people criticized iTunes for its DRM policy in the late 2000s, and it was such a big deal issue that in 2007, Steve Jobs published an open letter explanation why iTunes uses DRM. The letter, titled "Thoughts On Music," refers to what DRM by the "big four" music licensing companies, Sony BMG, and Warner, and EMI. </p>
<figure id= hexagons with icons related to DRM
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When Apple approached the iTunes library, they were "illegally copied." If Apple wanted to sell music, they had to sign extremely strict contracts. These contracts were so strict that if Apple's "DRM system [was] compromised" and music from iTunes became "playable on unauthorized devices," then the licensing companies could "withdraw their entire music catalog" from iTunes with less than a month's notice. 19659004] Music licensing companies forced to use DRM in their products, and in some cases, these DRM measures technically prevent consumers from actually owning the media that they've paid for. This idea extends to all forms of digital property, including video games and movies.

You Do not Own Your Digital Property; You Rent It

Here's where things get a little bit awful. Your inability to own your digital property is not just theoretical.

The Amazon Kindle license agreement makes this extremely clear. It states that content is "licensed, not sold," and "reserves the right to modify, suspend, or discontinue" their service "at any time" without "liability." So, you do not own your Kindle purchases, and

This you-don't-own-it clause is extremely popular among content distributors. A more relevant example might be the Wii U license agreement, in which Nintendo states that "software is licensed, not sold, to you." Nintendo takes this step further by claiming that, if they feel the need to terminate your licensing agreement, then "you will immediately cease all use" of Wii U software. Is that … a threat?

Other services like Amazon, Steam, Sony's PlayStation Network, and Xbox Live have similar clauses in their user agreement.

Yes, the "Buy Now" Button on every Kindle product page is misleading. It's frustrating. Even more frustrating is their video service where Amazon offers both rent and buy options. We suppose "Rent" and "Rent Indefinitely, But You Definitely Do not Own It."

At this point, "digital property" is probably not the right word for what we're trying to do to describe.

Businesses Are Not Obligated To Protect Your Purchases

This is the best way to save money. What happens to your digital property when a company or service is terminated?

 open padlock with a key
dnd_project / Shutterstock

Let's pull the band-aid off right now. Businesses do not care about you; they care about your money. If a business collapses, they have little incentive to guarantee access to your digital property. Even if some angelic distributor decided to give them lifelong accesses to DRM-free copies of their purchases when they went out of business,

Some businesses have put out the business It's okay, but it's not very promising. A few years ago, a Reddit post about Steam's DRM policy got a lot of attention. A user asked Steam Support if he would have access to his games upon the (theoretical) discontinuation of the Steam network. The Support tech assures that "measures are in place" to allow purchasers to access their content forever. But these games are protected by forms of DRM, and the Steam user licensing agreement itself states that "content and services are licensed, not sold."


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