Apple sued over claims iTunes 'Buy' button is misleading

iTunes on the Mac
iTunes on the Mac (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple is facing a class-action lawsuit in California over its iTunes 'Buy' button.
  • It is alleged the button is misleading because Apple can terminate access to content on the platform at any time.
  • Apple has reportedly stated that "no reasonable consumer would believe" content stays on the platform indefinitely.

A new lawsuit against Apple alleges that the company's 'Buy' button on iTunes content is misleading and deceptive because Apple can terminate your access to content at any time.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

That's a question for a federal courtroom in Sacramento, California, where Apple is facing a putative class action over the way consumers can "buy" or "rent" movies, TV shows and other content in the iTunes Store. David Andino, the lead plaintiff in this case, argues the distinction is deceptive. He alleges Apple reserves the right to terminate access to what consumers have "purchased," and in fact, has done so on numerous occasions.

Apple filed a motion to dismiss the suit, however, Judge John Mendez rejected the attempt (in part), after finding cause to disagree with Apple's defense that "no reasonable consumer would believe" content on the platform would remain there indefinitely:

"But in common usage, the term 'buy' means to acquire possession over something. It seems plausible, at least at the motion to dismiss stage, that reasonable consumers would expect their access couldn't be revoked."

The judge also rejected Apple's claim that the alleged injury was speculative in the case, stating that "the injury is that at the time of purchase, he paid either too much for the product or spent money he would not have but for the misrepresentation. This economic injury is concrete and actual, not speculative as Apple contends, satisfying the injury in fact requirement of Article III."

The judge did dismiss the claim of "unjust enrichment", but the door is still wide open for the possibility of court measures that might force Apple to make changes to how it sells content on its platforms, perhaps by changing or removing the word 'buy'.

Whilst the case refers to the 'iTunes platform', Apple split iTunes into separate Music, TV, and Podcasts apps a couple of years ago, however, the principles of the suit and users 'buying' content remain.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9