Update: Bruce Willis’ wife, Emma Heming denies he is suing Apple iTunes on her Twitter account.
The Hollywood action star Bruce Willis may now take on the Goliath of consumer electronics industry, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). The 57-year old actor has spent thousands of dollars to download a huge collection of songs from iTunes. Now he wants to pass on the rights over his music collection to his children: Rumer, Scout, Tallulah, and Mabel.
However, the problem with transferring the rights is that when you buy a song from iTunes, you don’t actually “own” the song. Instead, you pay for the rights to listen to songs. Therefore, when Willis passes away, his vast music collection will be worthless. Users have no right to share those songs with others, but people mostly ignore the terms and pass the songs on to their dear ones. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) can freeze the accounts of such users, if detected.
The Terms & Conditions of Apple’s iTune store clearly state:
“This license does not allow you to use the Licensed Application on any Apple Device that you do not own or control, and except as provided in the Usage Rules, you may not distribute or make the Licensed Application available over a network where it could be used by multiple devices at the same time. This license does not allow you to use the Licensed Application on any Apple Device that you do not own or control, and except as provided in the Usage Rules, you may not distribute or make the Licensed Application available over a network where it could be used by multiple devices at the same time.”
But users generally accept the Terms & Conditions without reading between the lines. Willis is now considering the legal options, and he has instructed his advisers to establish a family trust for the music collections. The Sun reported that Willis is “preparing to take Apple to court.”
The actor is also considering to support the legal battles in five states to provide people more rights to the music they purchase. If Bruce Willis succeeds, it will be beneficial for millions of people who purchase songs from iTunes store.
“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,” solicitor Chris Walton told the Daily Mail. “It’s only natural you would want to pass them on to a loved one. The law will catch up, but ideally Apple and the like will update their policies and work out the best solution for their customers.”
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is not the only company to have such rules. Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) also has similar rules for its MP3, eBooks and other stores. At present, there is little possibility of the actor winning the battle even if he sues Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), because every user accepts the dictated terms before downloading the songs. However, he may succeed to fetch some attention to the issues.