Actor’s revelation about iTunes brought to everyone’s attention

Date: Sep 05, 2012

Rumours that Bruce Willis is planning to sue Apple's iTunes may in fact be just that - but recent headlines surrounding the Die Hard actor's alleged battle with the download site shines an important spotlight on the issue of ownership rights when it comes to digital content and making a will.


According to British newspaper The Sun, Willis is said to have formed the opinion that technically when it says 'buy' a song on iTunes, it actually means - according to the terms and conditions set out by Apple - that you're borrowing the song.


The article suggests that the fine print specifies that you can't pass on the music to someone else, If this is correct, any vast collection of digital songs accumulated through the course of one's life will be flat out worthless once you die.


According to the UK reports, Willis has apparently spent a small fortune on legal downloads, and was hoping to pass his collection of music and iPods onto his family in his will.
Anyone who has amassed a massive collection would naturally want this issue to be resolved and to ensure that their passion for music remains intact once they’re gone. And there are a number of avenues one could take.


There is the choice to create a family trust which would hold the music, or maybe have a company hold the rights, whilst another option could be to start a legal campaign, championing for greater rights for downloaders.


With digital sales on the rise, issues of ownership are coming into play - and the emergence of e-books and electronic readers, such as the Kindle, complicates the matter further.
Some download providers are believed to assert the legal right to freeze the accounts of downloaders if they believe there are people who are trying to pass on downloads, and some of these providers don't allow the downloads to be accessed on anything other than devices with specific software installed.


Lawyer Chris Walton is reported to have told the Sun that estate planning can be difficult when it comes to this area, but these legalities will work themselves out.


"Lots of people will be surprised on learning all those tracks and books they have bought over the years don’t actually belong to them.


It’s only natural you would want to pass them on to a loved one.


"The law will catch up, but ideally (download services) and the like will update their policies and work out the best solution for their customers."