All of those companies allow you to personal your content material, so that you’ll by no means lose it

Microsoft lately shut down the e book part of its on-line retailer and made all bought content material unavailable. Whereas the corporate issued full refunds to clients for all bought books, the closure made it painfully clear: The vast majority of subscription companies present a license to make use of content material, however you don’t really personal the content material itself. And will an organization resolve to close down a service, then all of that content material may very well be gone endlessly.

Microsoft launched an in depth FAQ that knowledgeable clients that no books could be obtainable for buy, lease, or pre-order after April 2, and that after July no books could be readable. In July, Microsoft would start rolling out refunds. Not even free books survived the shutdown; the service itself closed its doorways, which suggests no ebooks, paid or in any other case, could be obtainable to clients.

You may be considering that not all corporations comply with this coverage. In spite of everything, doesn’t Netflix can help you obtain content material for offline viewing? And doesn’t Apple allow you to obtain and burn music?

Some corporations do permit customers to maintain their downloaded content material endlessly, even when that content material in any other case disappears from the storefront. However there are additionally caveats to that possession. In case you’re thinking about maintaining your paid-for content material endlessly, try these companies. 

Steam

Quite a few video games have been pulled from the Steam storefront for a wide range of causes, however even when the sport is not obtainable for buy, you’ll hold the copy you have got in your library. In uncommon circumstances, the video games you’ve bought may not be obtainable for obtain, however many occasions you’ll nonetheless have the ability to obtain titles lengthy after they’ve stopped promoting.

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If you’re not sure, pop in an exterior exhausting drive and obtain the video games you’re afraid of dropping.

GOG.com

GOG.com is constructed on the idea of DRM-free possession. They current their storefront with the peace of mind that clients personal a sport free and clear as soon as they buy it. Whereas there may be at all times an argument to be made that solely the develop really owns the sport–as within the precise code–your obtain of the sport is yours endlessly, even when GOG.com someday disappears. So long as you have got the information downloaded, they’re yours to maintain and play.

Apple

You’ll be able to obtain iTunes songs (till the service shuts down for good, anyway) and burn them to a disc. At that time, the media is yours endlessly. Even when it disappears from the storefront, it exists on bodily media — and finally bodily media is the only finest option to assure possession of any digital content material. However extra on that later.

On the subject of media apart from music, issues aren’t so clear. In line with Apple’s Phrases and Circumstances, “It’s possible you’ll burn an audio playlist of bought music to disc for listening functions as much as seven occasions; this limitation doesn’t apply to DRM-free Content material. Different Content material might not be burned to disc.”

The language inside the Phrases and Circumstances signifies that apps and different content material moreover music just isn’t yours, however quite licensed to you. Particularly in reference to ebooks, “… which implies that you purchase a license to make use of the Content material from Apple Distribution Worldwide, however the Content material is licensed by the Writer.” The content material is licensed to you; you shouldn’t have possession endlessly, which suggests there isn’t any assure the books can’t be pulled off your units.

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An vital distinction is within the language of Apple’s help web page.

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In authorized phrases, “can at all times” doesn’t imply “will at all times.” Nevertheless, it’s uncommon that content material is pulled off a tool. As soon as downloaded, so long as you don’t delete an app, you’ll doubtless have the ability to entry it. Simply ask one of many dozen individuals on the earth that also have a tool with the unique Flappy Fowl put in.

Archive.org

Archive.org is a treasure trove of DRM-free content material. On the time of writing, a seek for motion pictures returns over 5.1 million outcomes. One factor to bear in mind is that not all of those are function movies; in truth, solely 6,405 objects fall beneath the function movie class. That stated, there may be an astounding quantity of authorized digital content material that you would be able to obtain and watch with out fear that you just’re going to lose it.

Smashwords

Smashwords is an outlet principally used for self-published authors, however many extra well-known writers may also be discovered on the positioning. Smashwords prides itself on being a DRM-free service. As soon as you buy a e-book on the positioning, it’s yours. It’s additionally a good way to find new writers, because the entrance web page of the positioning has a “Featured New Releases” part that grants a fast peek at the newest releases.

Humble Bundle

Humble Bundle obtained its begin as a video video games distribution service. Prospects would spend a specific amount and the bulk would go to charity. In return, Humble Bundle would give them an assortment of DRM-free video games. The service has since expanded into books, software program, and rather more. All of it’s DRM-free, and all of it’s primarily based on a tiered pricing system. There are normally three pricing ranges to select from, and each provides extra rewards from the one earlier than it.

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A Notice Regarding Bodily Media

A bodily medium is one of the simplest ways to make sure long-term possession of digital media. Burning music and information to a CD ensures you keep possession of the contents saved there, offered they don’t have DRM safety. Any content material with DRM safety will carry out a “test” to certify that your license continues to be legitimate. If that test returns a destructive reply, you lose entry.

Then again, content material with out DRM will stay yours for so long as you have got the information. Storing them on an exterior exhausting drive is an alternative choice, but it surely’s at all times good to have a bodily backup.

Though Microsoft intends to situation full refunds to any clients for the content material they lose entry to, this isn’t one thing customers ought to financial institution on different corporations doing. It is much better to concentrate on buying content material that you just personal outright, quite than one thing licensed only for short-term use.