Guilty Until Proven Innocent


As I promised with my previous “Dear Apple: I hate you” posting, here’s my follow up:

All of my problems began with changing my email service provider two months ago (and my Apple ID).  Reconnecting to my iTunes and iCloud accounts proved to be exceedingly onerous because of the difficulty in getting my iPhone and iPad to stop autofilling the old Apple ID in the wrong places. After much effort and help from the true Apple geniuses (the folks on the user forums), I resolved that problem, only to have it rear its ugly head once again when I had my phone reset last weekend.

The reason why Apple makes this such an incredible hardship was explained to me by an employee at the Emeryville Apple Store: Apple’s bottom line. Yes, the multi-billion dollar corporation is obsessed with the idea that its iTunes customers are nothing more than criminals-in-waiting, just biding their time for the first opportunity to come along and rip them off!!

Apple insists that all content (apps, songs, etc.) purchased under one Apple ID (your email address) will forever, in perpetuity, belong to that Apple ID.  They can never be transferred to another Apple ID. This is to prevent you from changing the email address associated with your account to someone else’s and thereby illegally transferring your iTunes purchases to some scofflaw, thereby depriving Apple of its share of the profits. Sure, you can say they’re also protecting the creators of those apps and the musicians, but considering their monopolistic control of what’s available to you, and their steep cut (30%, is it?) of the creators’ profits, do you really think their motive is altruistic?

The end result is that, for example, you’ve had one email address for ten years, under which you purchased hundreds (or thousands) of apps and songs.  Then you change your email address and continue to buy more apps and songs for another year.  So, 90% of all your iTunes content is forever owned by that first email address; 10% under the new email address. There is no mechanism for you to ever transfer that 90% to the new address/Apple ID. This is what was explained to me by the Apple employee that ill-fated Monday afternoon. When I asked if this will continue to haunt me (every time I needed to reset my iPhone, or purchase a new iPhone or MacBook Pro, or iPad), he said yes. Seriously? This is ridiculous.

Please do not suggest I use an Apple-related email or some other generic email not tied to a specific service provider. Who I choose to have an email account with is not to be dictated by Apple; it’s none of Apple’s business. And anyway, it’s too late for that because 90% of everything I ever bought still belongs to my earthlink-attached account because they won’t let me transfer it. (Oh, and dear Apple employee, I caught that smirk on your face when I mentioned I was now using Comcast. Not a professional move on your part.)

I am not a criminal. I do not illegally share my iTunes purchases with others. I do not believe in doing so, not only because I think it is wrong, but as a writer, I want to set an example that artists (writers, musicians, app designers) all deserve to be paid for their work. I hope that others respect my copyright as I do theirs.

Dear Apple: the content I purchased from you (songs, movies, tv shows, apps) is my content. I paid for it. I legally downloaded it. It should not be restricted to whichever email address I purchased it under.

You need to create a mechanism for your loyal, law-abiding customers to permanently transfer ownership of all legally purchased content to new email addresses.  (Face it: people do change email accounts. Get with the times.)  Because, frankly, this experience makes me never want to buy another Apple product ever again.

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