Apple's motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit over the company's use of the labels "buy" and "rent" when selling digital content has been rejected by a federal judge.

Apple's lawsuit appeal rejected

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the lawsuit can now continue, but could be settled before it reaches trial.

The lead plaintiff in the case, David Andino, stated that Apple is misleading consumers when it tells them they can "buy" digital versions of albums, TV shows, and films from its stores. Andino said it is misleading because Apple retains the power to terminate the customers' access to this content whenever it likes.

Also Read: Apple Says iTunes Will Stay Alive ... On Windows

This can happen when the company loses distribution rights to content that users have not secured by downloading to their device.

Andino's lawsuit stated that just like Best Buy can't come into a person's home to repossess the movie DVD that someone purchase from the store, Apple should not be able to remove, or permit the removal by others of the digital content from its customers.

The lawsuit also stated that even though some consumers may get lucky and never lose access to any of their paid for media, other consumers may one day find that their digital content is gone and can't be retrieved.

Apple's misleading tags

Apple tried to have the case dismissed, but a ruling by the US District Court Judge John Mendez shows that the company's argument were not convincing enough, 9to5Mac reported.

Mendez wrote in an order filed with the Eastern District of California that Apple contends that no reasonable consumer would believe that purchased content would remain on the iTunes platform indefinitely.

However, in common usage, the term "buy" means to acquire possession over something. He added that it is reasonable for consumers to expect that their access could never be revoked since they "bought" the digital content.

To further emphasize his point on the case, Mendez pointed to the definition of the word "buy" in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, and it shows that "buy" means "to acquire possession, ownership, or rights to the user or services of by payment especially of money."

Apple tried to argue that Andino's case was speculative, as he has not lost access to any content.

But, as Mendez summarizes, the case being presented is not about the threat of losing future access to digital contents, but the deception involve in Apple's use of the word "buy."

This misleads Apple consumers about the exact nature of ownership, which means Andino paid Apple's for digital content that he could just lose in the future if Apple ends their partnership with third-party production companies.

Apple did have some success on the case, as one element of the lawsuit was dismissed by the judge, and that is Andino's claims to unjust enrichment, which would affect how any potential damages would be calculated.

Mendez did leave open the possibility of future injunctive relief, that means the material changes to how Apple sells content in future. All of these questions will have to be settled in future proceedings.

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Written by Sophie Webster

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