All of those providers 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 prospects for all bought books, the closure made it painfully clear: The vast majority of subscription providers 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 might be gone perpetually.

Microsoft launched an in depth FAQ that knowledgeable prospects that no books can be obtainable for buy, lease, or pre-order after April 2, and that after July no books can 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, can be obtainable to prospects.

You could be pondering that not all firms comply with this coverage. In any case, doesn’t Netflix will let you obtain content material for offline viewing? And doesn’t Apple allow you to obtain and burn music?

Some firms do enable customers to maintain their downloaded content material perpetually, even when that content material in any other case disappears from the storefront. However there are additionally caveats to that possession. For those who’re desirous about preserving your paid-for content material perpetually, try these providers. 


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 preserve the copy you’ve got in your library. In uncommon circumstances, the video games you’ve bought won’t be obtainable for obtain, however many instances you’ll nonetheless be capable to obtain titles lengthy after they’ve stopped promoting.

If you’re not sure, pop in an exterior arduous drive and obtain the video games you’re afraid of shedding. is constructed on the idea of DRM-free possession. They current their storefront with the reassurance that prospects personal a sport free and clear as soon as they buy it. Whereas there’s 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 perpetually, even when someday disappears. So long as you’ve got the recordsdata downloaded, they’re yours to maintain and play.


You possibly can obtain iTunes songs (till the service shuts down for good, anyway) and burn them to a disc. At that time, the media is yours perpetually. Even when it disappears from the storefront, it exists on bodily media — and in the end bodily media is the one finest option to assure possession of any digital content material. However extra on that later.

Relating to media aside from music, issues aren’t so clear. In response to Apple’s Phrases and Situations, “You might burn an audio playlist of bought music to disc for listening functions as much as seven instances; this limitation doesn’t apply to DRM-free Content material. Different Content material is probably not burned to disc.”

The language inside the Phrases and Situations signifies that apps and different content material moreover music will not be yours, however fairly 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 would not have possession perpetually, which suggests there isn’t any assure the books can’t be pulled off your units.

An essential distinction is within the language of Apple’s assist web page.

In authorized phrases, “can at all times” doesn’t imply “will at all times.” Nonetheless, 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 be capable to entry it. Simply ask one of many dozen individuals on this planet that also have a tool with the unique Flappy Fowl put in. 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 remember is that not all of those are function movies; the truth is, solely 6,405 objects fall below the function movie class. That mentioned, there’s an astounding quantity of authorized digital content material that you would be able to obtain and watch with out fear that you simply’re going to lose it.


Smashwords is an outlet largely 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 guide on the positioning, it’s yours. It’s additionally an effective 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 latest releases.

Humble Bundle

Humble Bundle acquired its begin as a video video games distribution service. Clients would spend a certain quantity 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 often three pricing ranges to select from, and every one offers further rewards from the one earlier than it.

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 recordsdata to a CD ensures you keep possession of the contents saved there, supplied they don’t have DRM safety. Any content material with DRM safety will carry out a “examine” to certify that your license continues to be legitimate. If that examine returns a adverse reply, you lose entry.

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

Though Microsoft intends to subject full refunds to any prospects for the content material they lose entry to, this isn’t one thing shoppers ought to financial institution on different firms doing. It is much better to give attention to buying content material that you simply personal outright, fairly than one thing licensed only for non permanent use.

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