Next month, Sony will stop allowing users who have paid for titles like Paddington and The Hunger Games to access hundreds of movies and TV episodes on its PlayStation Store service. Legal notices issued on the two regional websites state that the shutdown affects StudioCanal film users in Germany and Austria.
On August 31st, exactly one year after Sony stopped allowing customers to buy movies and TV shows through its online store, the shutdown will go into effect. When this statement was made, Sony assured its customers that they would still have access to previously acquired content. The change is attributed to “evolving licence agreements with content providers,” according to notices on the PlayStation website, and purchased content will be removed from users’ video libraries.
Variety reports that 314 titles in Germany and 137 in Austria are impacted by the change. Chicken Run, John Wick, La La Land, Logan Lucky, Saw, Shaun the Sheep Movie, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy are among the films that are impacted. It’s unclear if affected customers will be eligible for refunds.
While it’s become common knowledge that TV episodes and movies can eventually be removed from streaming services, making them inaccessible to subscribers, it’s much less common knowledge that this can happen with services that allow you to purchase titles to own digitally. That being said, Pocket-Lint noted that some titles weren’t compatible with the Google Play migration process that was supposed to allow UK users to continue having access to them when Flixster Video shut down. Even in the past, Apple’s usage of the term “purchase” for digital products for which it retains the ability to revoke access has been legally challenged.
The closure is an important reminder that, even when you “purchase” a game digitally, your ownership frequently still depends on a merchant remaining open and having the appropriate license agreements in place. Physical purchases are still your best option if you want to ensure ownership in perpetuity, however this is not always the case.