You remember the brouhaha over Apple's "kill switch" in the App Store. It's a little backdoor that Apple built in (and that developers must agree to) that allows Apple to remotely kill any application on your iPhone at will. Apple hasn't used it yet, but ironically the Cupertino computer maker has had a kill switch of sorts, thrown on them.
In a piece called Disappearing Movies Macworld's Dan Moren noticed that of 15 films he bookmarked for future viewing in iTunes, nine were no longer available, including Charlie Wilson's War, Eastern Promises, and Michael Clayton.
One would presume that there is some sort of licensing issue at stake here... But it's a little odd that these movies just vanished into thin air. Man, it's like a bad horror movie.
CNet's Greg Sandoval confirmed that Apple and Netflix have had to remove movie titles from their digital download services because of licensing requirements, specifically post theatrical release windows – periods of time a certain type of media is allowed to show a movie.
Typically, a feature film is first released in theaters, then on DVD, followed by pay-per-view channels and finally on broadcast TV... Normally, release windows don't affect retailers or video-rental services after they've begun selling or renting films... Internet stores are being treated differently. What this means for iTunes and Netflix customers is that movies will pop in and out of the services.