Apple accused of pushing users to download HD movies on non-HD devices

By , Jul 8, 2013

itunes 11 (HD Movies 001)

With the September 2008 release of iTunes 8, Apple along with introducing a slew of new software features started upgrading resolution of movies and television shows sold on the iTunes Store to high-definition 720p. One Apple user has now taken the company to court over what in his view files as fraud, unjust enrichment and violation of consumer protection laws.

A Florida user took issue with iTunes movie downloads, alleging Apple tricked him into buying a pricier $4.99 high-definition version of the Big Daddy movie although his iPhone 3GS did not support playback of HD content. Claiming he was unaware an SD version was available for $3.99, he argues Apple should compensate the “millions” of owners of older hardware who paid a buck more to download HD versions of movies and TV shows…

The complaint, filed by plaintiff Scott J. Weiselberg in June in San Francisco and picked up by Courthouse News (via GigaOM), states Apple made HD the default option in iTunes 8 for the first three versions of the iPhone and the iPod touch although these devices do not support HD video.

The class-action lawsuit asserts Apple charged customers an extra $1 for high-definition movies on non-HD capable devices.

It reads:

Despite the fact that Apple makes the HD version of the content offerings the default rental option, Apple failed to disclose to customers using SD Apple mobile devices that the device could not play the HD content being rented, and that the customer was needlessly paying the premium for the HD option.

He is seeking restitution, disgorgement, an injunction and damages for unjust enrichment.

I’ve enclosed the filing as a Scribd document below.

Truth be told, Apple shortly following the release of iTunes 8 did add a notice letting users of non-HD devices know they could not play HD content. That being said, I’m not sure what’s funnier: that Weiselberg was so grossly uninformed about his iPhone 3GS’s playback capabilities or the fact that the guy is actually a lawyer himself.

Furthermore, that someone buys an HD movie on an SD device doesn’t mean he or she is going to watch it solely on that device, no? To that extent, Weiselberg can always watch Big Daddy in HD on his Mac via iTunes or enjoy it on a big screen TV through the Apple TV set-top box.

Just my two cents.

What’s your take, is this lawsuit frivolous?

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  • Prathik Nair

    If any case the dude has a point, i mean at the least, Apple should have put “not compatible with 3gs”. Should there be a case for this, i don’t think so, but should Apple be aware of this. Yes. I also think apple should give him that movie for free. Party gift :)p

    • nyangejr

      movie not software

  • quitcherbichinn

    ignorance is not a defense…or in this case a complaint. if this guy wasn’t smart enough to be aware of what he was purchasing then that is on him. there was no bait and switch here. it is just another abuse of the legal system to try and get free money. these cases need to be outlawed in this country. crap like this is why the cost of goods and services keeps going up and up and up.

    • Eric

      DITTO everything you said!!!

      And like the Author of the iDB article said:

      Furthermore, that someone buys an HD movie on an SD device doesn’t mean he or she is going to watch it solely on that device, no? To that extent, Weiselberg can always watch Big Daddy in HD on his Mac via iTunes or enjoy it on a big screen TV through the Apple TV set-top box.

      So, where are the damages?

      Besides, if he was “smart enough” to complete his Law Degree (JD) and then PASS the BAR Exam – how was he not “smart enough” to realize at the time HD was “over kill” for SD.

      Furthermore – how was he “harmed” in reality he got to watch the movie, and that is the point, he got to watch a movie. That is what he was paying for, the ability to watch a movie. Apple delivered the movie. If Apple took his money, then never delivered a movie – well, that would be stealing, a different issue.

  • Aaron-James Needles

    Really… for $1 and the dude needs to update his phone

  • Gary32283

    My hot coffee didn’t say it was hot.

  • Alejandro M. Marez

    This guy is just a newby to the iPhone. I think that he’s blowing out of proportion a bit though.

  • Raul Henriquez

    I think he has a small dick like Kurt

  • Tristan

    iTunes 8 wasn’t released in 2010. It was released in 2008.

    • http://www.idownloadblog.com/author/dujkan Christian Zibreg

      Dang, fixed. Thanks for the heads-up

  • KoreyAusTex

    Totally frivolous, if you don’t know the tech specs and playback capabilities of your own device, your fault. You can look up tech specs instead of being a little kid that needs everything done for you.

  • ARUIZMART

    No wonder why I can’t buy iPad apps from my Iphone 5

  • hanfeedback

    With a name like Weiselberg and he’s suing for essentially being overcharged $1 is anyone surprised?

    • Jarryd Richards

      With a name like that, I would of at least though he was a successful lawyer (he reminds me of Sal from Breaking Bad), but he has a 3GS and clearly doesn’t know that ignorance can not be used as a defence.

  • Liam Mulcahy

    iPhone 3GS? Get a better iPhone…

  • Paul

    Hopefully apple countersues this guy for being an asshole- 3 years later he sues? Doesn’t contact apple for his dollar back? Really? I hope the judge whips his anvil at him.

  • cormac_mcroadie

    Some quick corrections: iTunes movies are available in 1080p, not just 720p.

    Also, purchasing the HD version also allows you to download the SD version, for no additional cost.

    Third: 3GS? That’s 4 years old.

    Dude’s too dumb for words, and is just using the courts to extort money. Case should be dismissed.

  • Plistumichu

    Having the possibility to see the movie in iTunes and even knowing that the UID could be used in several devices, the claim has no point at all.

  • Der Faust

    ZING!