PlayStation Will Remove Discovery Shows Despite User Purchase
Sony announced on Monday that it would remove all Discovery content, including shows like “MythBusters” and “Deadliest Catch,” from user libraries, even if they had been purchased on the PlayStation Store.
The company, which owns and operates PlayStation game consoles, said in a brief statement that the Discovery shows would be deleted on Dec. 31, attributing the decision to “our content licensing arrangements with content providers.”
The move came as Warner Bros. Discovery, which owns Discovery content, is seeking to add more subscribers to its Max and Discovery+ streaming services, in competition with others like Netflix and Disney+.
Users can also stream and buy content on the PlayStation.
More than 1,200 purchasable titles will be removed from the PlayStation store, Forbes reported, including “Cake Boss,” which followed the adventures of a family-owned bakery in New Jersey for over a decade, and “American Chopper,” a reality series about the hotheaded owners of the Orange County Choppers motorcycle garage.
Some PlayStation console users expressed frustration with Sony for taking away content that already had been purchased. One user posted on social media that they were expecting a full refund for products bought on the PlayStation. Another wrote that the message from Sony to customers was essentially, “If you ‘purchased’ any of these titles via PlayStation, they are going to disappear soon and too bad for you.”
Sony did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
The erasure of Discovery content has raised questions about what it means to “own” digital products and highlighted how customers are increasingly at the mercy of licensing arrangements between media companies and online stores.
PlayStation Network’s terms of service states that “all content” provided, including on the PlayStation Store, is “licensed on a nonexclusive and revocable basis.”
Users of other streaming services and devices have lobbed similar complaints at companies, including some e-book owners this year who learned that buying an e-book does not really mean it’s theirs.
Automatic e-book updates, which are a common feature of many popular platforms including Amazon’s Kindle Store and Google Play, caused some references and sentences to be changed in the works of popular authors such as Roald Dahl, R.L. Stine and Agatha Christie.
Last year, the PlayStation Store also removed StudioCanal films and TV shows from devices in Austria and Germany despite user purchase, citing “evolving licensing agreements,” The Verge reported.