How many of us read user agreements before signing up, downloading or purchasing music, books, journals or movies online? Well, according to iTunes, when you buy their music, it is only for your personal use and you do not actually own it. You therefore cannot pass on your collection to your loved ones. You can’t even sell it off to make a quick buck.
This recently became evident when Bruce Willis wanted to leave his iTunes music collection to his kids upon his death, according to an interview he gave The Sun. Only problem, he cannot bequeath to his kids something he doesn’t own! This is the cause of a legal tussle between him and Apple.
Which brings to mind the question of just why would you pay for something that you will not own? It is true that we must all endeavour to read every detail of the user agreements we so quickly agree to before making such purchases. However, what exactly are the rights of internet downloaders? What exactly do you own in the digital world, regardless of how much you paid for it?
Perhaps another question to ask would be what happens to your social media or blog pages when you die? It is clear that this eventuality is not given much thought by developers of such sites. Or maybe the answer lies in the user agreements that we never read? In any case, it may be time to become more aware of these so-called contracts that we so willingly sign with so little information.