Your Digital Movies Will Not Last Forever, and Sony Just Proved It

Gandalf_The_Grey

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Sony used to sell movies and TV shows through the PlayStation store, but that ended in August 2021. Existing purchases were still available, though some of them are now starting to disappear — another sign digital collections don’t last forever.

Variety and 4K Filme report that hundreds of movies from French film distributor Studiocanal, as well as some Lionsgate films, will be removed from the libraries of anyone who purchased them in the past. The change only affects people in two countries — Germany and Austria — but it’s never good to see digital purchases suddenly disappear for buyers. The list of affected content includes Paddington 1 & 2, Robocop, American Gods, Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, and The Hunger Games series.

Sony said on the German PlayStation site (translated), “due to our evolving licensing agreements with content providers, you will no longer be able to view your previously purchased Studio Canal content and it will be removed from your video library. We greatly appreciate your continued support.”

The PlayStation Store is mostly intended for buying digital PlayStation games, but Sony also sells other content through the store. You could rent and buy movies and TV shows at one point, but that functionality was shut down in August 2021. Sony said existing purchases would still be playable on the PS4, PS5, and mobile devices… which didn’t turn out to be accurate.

Even though this specific shutdown has a small reach, it’s yet another sign that digital movie purchases (and digital purchases of any kind, really) don’t last forever. The Microsoft Store stopped selling books in 2019, and access to purchased books was removed shortly afterwards, but at least Microsoft offered refunds — something Sony isn’t doing here. UltraViolet, another popular digital library for movies, shut down in 2019 but allowed purchases to be migrated to other services using Movies Anywhere.

If you want to make sure your movies and TV shows aren’t at the whim of contracts between tech companies and distributors, good ‘ol Blu-ray discs are a great option. Many movies come with codes to register digital copies anyway, and you can rip the discs to make your own DRM-free version.