HumanIPO reported this week the iTunes Store had launched in South Africa but the American product giant can only offer music and not video, television content or e-books.
Digital media lawyer Paul Jacobson explained to web.tech.law: “The absence of TV series, movies and even books is likely largely due to licensing restrictions applicable to that content in some way or another.”
With books, Jacobson said publishers often use intricate and geographical licensing restrictions on which books may be sold, where they may be sold as well as in which formats.
“This doesn’t really make much sense,” added Jacobson because South Africans have been able to buy books through the Kindle store. “What may be happening there is that the publishers are either negotiating their royalties with iTunes or are constrained by licenses which they already granted to parties in their local supply chain,” he explained.
With regards to movies and TV series, Jacobson believes the licensing restrictions from studios are more complicated. “The fact that this content is not yet available through the South African iTunes Store may have much to do with licenses granted to content distributors such as local movie theatres and our TV networks.”
“These are likely to be licenses between the studios and the local providers and licensing the content to iTunes would probably threaten the business models in use by movie theatre chains and the TV networks,” added Jacobson.
This means South Africans may have to wait a long time before the above mentioned content becomes available in the country.