What happens if I buy a bunch of streaming movies on Amazon then I quit membership?

So, if you’re an Amazon Prime member and you buy a bunch of streaming movies, what happens if you decide not to renew your membership? Are all those movies gone now?
Seems to me Amazon would have you by the short hairs if you built your library big enough. Genius that I am, I didn’t stop to think about this until after I’ve spent about $150 worth on various movies and series. And to add insult to injury, I bought Contact (with Jodie Foster) and two months later, it’s on Amazon Prime list. :smack:

“Gone”? You never had them.

They’re streaming. You can view them only when Amazon streams them. If you’re not a Prime member, Amazon doesn’t owe you anything.

ProTip for the 21st Century: Unless you’re holding a non-DRM physical copy of the media product someplace in your uncontrovertible control, you’re not “buying”, you’re “renting”.

Maybe I’m not understanding something, but you don’t need to be an Amazon Prime member to purchase and watch Amazon Instant Videos. Prime membership allows you to watch certain videos for no additional cost (other than your Prime membership), but it doesn’t impact your purchase of non-Prime content. In fact, if you don’t have a membership, you can still watch the Prime videos, you just have to pay for them.

You should retain access to any video you purchased (subject to gnoitall’s caveats) even if you give up your membership.

Okay, so I guess you’re saying as long as I don’t delete my Amazon log in, the movies will always be there.

That makes sense. I guess my thinking is warped as I never thought to buy streaming movies until AFTER I bought a Prime membership.

I feel dumb now.

What SpoilerVirgin said. You can buy movies whether you’re not a Prime member. All the Prime membership does it let you watch some movies free. If you don’t renew you can still watch the ones you paid for; they won’t delete your account of anything.

ETA: yeah, you should. :wink:

Thanks. But dangit! When I clicked the button, it said buy not rent. That’s false advertising man!

Amazon is much less likely to go out of business than your DVD collection is to catch fire, so I wouldn’t worry about it.

Is there even a way to delete your Amazon ID?

It’s not so much Amazon going out of business as it is losing the rights to certain streaming content. If a major studio decided to start its own streaming service (or offer its content exclusively to a different provider) depending on their contract with Amazon, that studio’s content might eventually be pulled and no longer available for streaming.

That said, my understanding is that it is only the Prime content that is streaming only. If you purchase content, as Shakes has done, you have the option of downloading it to your hard drive, where it will presumably remain available even if Amazon is not. I have some purchased content, but have not taken this step, because frankly, if at some point I’m unable to watch a season of Glee, I’m not going to be too upset, even if I did pay for it.

Yes, but you have to contact Amazon Customer Service and request that it be closed.

Very fast way to delete your Amazon ID: Buy a bunch of stuff with stolen credit cards. Your ID will be deleted in no time. In other words, if you engage in bad behavior or do something that leads them to suspect you are engaging in bad behavior or violating their terms, you risk losing your account.

Their current terms allow you to download most purchased video content onto two different devices.

Here’s a list of obsolete DRM formats. Hmm. Walmart, Microsoft, Amazon, Yahoo, Adobe. All those business are still around, so I’m sure any DRM’d content you bought from them is still available…

Well, I’m sure that Amazon learned their lesson from their previous error and have a good plan in place to make people whole. Let’s look at the streaming video agreement.

Bolding mine.

I don’t know about deleting, but I’ve lost an Amazon account. It was linked to an email address that I don’t use any more, and lost control of. Didn’t use the Amazon account for years, and forgot the password. No password and no access to the referenced email means I can’t get to the account any more. Bye bye.

For what it’s worth, I have audiobooks that I’ve bought from Audible.com (which is now affiliated with Amazon) that Audible no longer sells, but which I can still download and access.

So, by analogy, if Amazon no longer offers certain streaming content, you might well still be able to access it if you’ve bought (as opposed to “rented”) it in the past—but Amazon doesn’t guarantee it, according to the warning iamthewalrus(:3= quoted.

Fair enough, but you can download any streamable video anyway.

Well, it’s like BUYING a ticket to attend a movie in a theater. You’re really *renting *it there, too, in the sense that when you’re through watching the movie you don’t own it.

Check your own link. Yahoo! no longer provides DRM-checking servers for its older content. Any of those you have are dead. Ditto Microsoft’s MSN music stuff which you can no longer transfer, etc. Ditto the Adobe listing is not good.

Whether a company is still around or not is no indication of continued ability to use DRM content. And since tech companies never go out of business … ;), we’re all good.

ftg, I know that sarcasm doesn’t always translate to text very well, but go read my post again. That was my exact point.

In an open format? Or in a format that requires communicating with an Amazon server to get authorized to actually watch it? Because that’s the problem with DRM. At some point it’s no longer economical to run those servers, at which point, no more content.

Amazon has a weird history with digital content. I looked, and the first electronic book I purchased was on Amazon in 2003. Someone recommended it, it was a very short story by George R. R. Martin called “Sandkings” and was available for $1.99 via download on Amazon. I believe a few other eBook sites had already started (like FictionWise), but I wasn’t yet aware of the trend and hadn’t bought eBooks yet. So I mostly bought the $2 short story for technical curiosity.

Looking over my old Amazon order from 2003…it’s actually listed as “Sandkings [DOWNLOAD: MICROSOFT READER]” which is a Microsoft eReader program for PC I vaguely remember reading a few books on ten years ago.

Interestingly, this content is 100% unavailable now. Can’t re-download it, it basically doesn’t exist. I’m guessing when Amazon released the Kindle and its various iterations (including a web app Kindle Reader) they phased out weird content like that. I don’t believe Amazon had many digital books available for use with Microsoft Reader in the first place…I certainly know that’s the only one I purchased.

Prior to Amazon Instant Video, there was also the Amazon “UnBox” service. UnBox was a desktop application, you bought an UnBox (or rented) an UnBox movie and it downloaded to your local machine through the Windows application. There was no streaming option. Once the file was downloaded enough you could watch what you had already downloaded while the rest downloaded (typically you’d be told “file is ready for viewing” when the application estimated that your viewing would never “catch up” with the downloading and thus you’d be able to watch the movie to the end.) I actually liked this format, I bought a few UnBox movies and later iTunes movies which followed/still follow the same concept of actually letting you download the full movie to your local hard drive.

Shockingly, the 5-6 movies I bought in the UnBox days are either intentionally or unintentionally 100% DRM free. I know this because long after the UnBox service went away I wanted to watch a certain movie and was going to buy it on iTunes when I was like…“wait a minute, I own this.” I went through my Amazon Account, and interestingly while it’s almost impossible to find mention of UnBox anywhere on Amazon (it’s all about Video On Demand / Instant Video / Streaming) if you dig into your video library you can find the option to “download” and even to this day it says “download to UnBox Video Player.” So happily Amazon had actually maintained this download service, while not really advertising it and emphasizing instead streaming content. Anyway, I found all my UnBox content available to download…except the movie I wanted to watch. When I clicked to download it, it basically gave some weird notice about a problem with the studio or production company or whatever and wouldn’t let me download it (I just checked, you can download it now…so it was a temporary problem.) But I still had the original video file on my old computer that I used when I made the purchase, I copied it over to my HTPC and it played on VLC Media Player with no problem…which normally you can’t just do that (for example I can’t play DRM iTunes movies on VLC.)

But as Amazon moves its product offerings and services around and has various rights agreements that are “opaque” it is certainly possible you can be cut off from access to your digital content through Amazon. If I ever want to read Sandkings again I’d have to find the original downloaded file (almost certainly destroyed in a reformatting of a 12+ year old PC at this point), or re-purchase it. Amazon just doesn’t have the infrastructure it did in 2003 for digital books and the book I purchased in that time just isn’t accessible under the new architecture.

Now that they’ve assuaged your concerns, let me bring up another: even though you’ve bought a movie or tv season, you lose access to it if/when Amazon loses streaming rights. They recommend you download everything you buy, and I’ve got a 2TB USB drive that’s backing up my library (96 movies, 145 tv seasons). When you figure $10 a movie and $20 a season (conservative), it’s worth a hundred bucks to back things up. And it’s annoying to go to stream something you bought and find it’s not available (last I recall were the first Wolverine and Yes Man, and I think season one of TBBT for a bit). Eventually most stuff comes available for streaming again down the line. And yeah, a crap-load of it’s available on Prime now.