A hot potato: Although Sony stopped selling movies and TV shows on the PlayStation Store over a year ago, customers could still watch content they had already purchased. However, now that seems to be changing.
According to notifications placed on the German and Austrian versions of the PlayStation website, Sony is removing hundreds of titles from its servers, so even those that have bought the movies and shows will no longer have access to them. On August 31, Austrian customers are losing 137 titles, and Germany is losing a whopping 317, including Apocalypse Now, John Wick, Robocop, and the entire Saw series.
Sony said it has to remove the content "due to [its] evolving licensing agreements with content providers." To be specific, anything distributed by Studio Canal is getting canned. More likely than not, Sony just decided to discontinue paying licensing fees as it is probably moving to sunset movie distribution. This summation stems from the fact that the company ceased selling content in March of last year.
Streaming content providers often remove content over time for various reasons, ranging from licensing issues to making room for newer shows. Subscribers to these services have accepted this since it's a monthly subscription to continuous VOD programming. However, in this case, users purchased the content digitally with the understanding that they could watch it whenever they pleased.
Sony doesn't mention whether or not it will issue refunds for items taken from users' libraries. If it doesn't, there is likely to be severe blowback. To some, removing purchased content might feel like a bait and switch — and in all practical terms, it is — but Sony's service agreement likely indemnifies it from legal action in instances like this. It would be unusual if the lawyers of one of the most prominent players in the entertainment industry overlooked such a contingency. I just goes to show that you should always read the fine print.