On Monday, Sony announced its decision to remove all Discovery content, including popular shows like “MythBusters” and “Deadliest Catch,” from user libraries on the PlayStation Store. This removal will apply even to users who have purchased the content. Sony attributed this move to “content licensing arrangements with content providers” and is set to delete the Discovery shows from user libraries on Dec. 31.
The decision comes amidst Warner Bros. Discovery’s efforts to boost subscribers for its Max and Discovery+ streaming services, competing with platforms like Netflix and Disney+. Over 1,200 purchasable titles, including long-running series like “Cake Boss” and “American Chopper,” will be taken down from the PlayStation Store, according to Forbes.
PlayStation users expressed frustration on social media, demanding full refunds for their purchased content. Some criticized Sony for essentially stating, “If you ‘purchased’ any of these titles via PlayStation, they are going to disappear soon, and too bad for you.”
Sony has not provided any comment in response to inquiries about this decision. The removal of Discovery content raises concerns about the concept of ownership in the digital age, highlighting how users are subject to the dynamics of licensing agreements between media companies and online platforms.
The terms of service on the PlayStation Network state that all provided content, including on the PlayStation Store, is “licensed on a nonexclusive and revocable basis.” This move echoes similar complaints from users of other streaming services and devices, including e-book owners who discovered that purchasing an e-book doesn’t necessarily mean ownership.
This incident also brings attention to previous instances, such as the removal of StudioCanal films and TV shows from the PlayStation Store in Austria and Germany last year, citing “evolving licensing agreements.” The ongoing issue underscores the challenges users face in maintaining control over digital purchases in a landscape dominated by shifting licensing arrangements.