Apple ‘Clarifies’ Device-To-Device iTunes Rental Limits: Don’t Do It

Apple iTunes Rentals To Go

The newest version of the iTunes Store Terms and Conditions from Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) carries this warning: “We have clarified that content rented on certain devices may not be moved to other devices.” Why? For one, the previous version left a loophole that would allow moving rental TV episodes from the iPad to another device.

The major changes in the version I have from Sept. 27 and the version today:

— Instead of movie or TV rentals, the language now refers to “content” rentals. At present, that applies only to movies and TV shows; conceivably, it could be used for something else — like games.

— The way it was written before separated iPads from the other devices and only banned movies from being moved, which seemed to create a TV show loophole.

The fine print explains that rental content can only be viewed on one device at a time. Rentals downloaded to computers can be moved to compatible devices but rentals purchased via Apple TV, iPad, iPhone 4, or iPod touch “may not be moved.” It’s possible to do it but once you do, a restore will wipe it. Rentals can only be downloaded once from iTunes and “cannot be replaced if lost for any reason.”

And if you want to be completely confused, read the options for TV rentals at Apple TV support. The iPad isn’t mentioned at all.

I’m sure there are hacks or will be hacks and that most people shrug it off until it becomes an issue. But it’s a reminder of how easily connected devices become silos. Some other examples:

— Even if you buy a video the rules say “you shall not be entitled to burn video products.”

— The sync rules for “purchased” content allow manual syncing of movies “provided that the movie is associated with an Account on the primary iTunes-authorized device, where the primary iTunes-authorized device is the one that was first synced with the device or the one that you subsequently designate as primary using iTunes.” This only works if the device where the movie is allows manual syncing.”

The major exception: iTunes Plus products.

I’ve reached out to Apple for comment. In the meantime, if you want a primer on the complicated rights and distribution landscape, read this.

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Sept. 27 version:

Movie and TV rentals are viewable on only one device at a time. You must be connected to the Service when moving rentals, and you may do so only between your computer and other compatible devices. Movies or TV shows rented using your Apple TV, iPhone 4, or iPod touch (4th generation) may not be moved. Movies rented using your iPad may not be moved. If you move a rental to a compatible device and then use the Service to restore that device, or choose Settings > Reset > Erase all content and settings on that device, the rental will be permanently deleted.

Now:

(a) Content rentals are viewable on only one device at a time. You must be connected to the Service when moving rentals, and you may do
so only between your computer and other compatible devices. Content rented using your Apple TV, iPad, iPhone 4, or iPod touch (4th
generation) may not be moved. If you move a rental to a compatible device and then use the Service to restore that device, or choose
Settings > Reset > Erase all content and settings on that device, the rental will be permanently deleted.

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