Sony-owned streaming service Funimation will be merged with Crunchyroll, which Sony bought back in 2021, and while Funimation stated that digital copy purchases of its content would be available "forever," that doesn't seem to be the case due to terms of condition stipulations.
Subscribers of Funimation were informed by the streaming service for many years that digital copy purchases of content on its website would be available to the buyer "forever." However, a new announcement from Funimation that it's ending its service and merging with Crunchyroll has brought to light that "forever" means something different in the eyes of the streaming service.
Firstly, Funimation provided users with the option of purchasing strictly digital copies of content, or physical media that contained a digital code that would enable the user to stream that content "forever". However, Funimation's announcement reads that Crunchyroll "does not currently support Funimation Digital copies, which means that access to previously available digital copies will not be supported."
"We understand that you may have concerns about your digital copies from Funimation. These Digital copies available on Funimation were a digital access to the content available on the DVDs or Blu-rays purchased.
Please note that Crunchyroll does not currently support Funimation Digital copies, which means that access to previously available digital copies will not be supported. However, we are continuously working to enhance our content offerings and provide you with an exceptional anime streaming experience. We appreciate your understanding and encourage you to explore the extensive anime library available on Crunchyroll," reads Funimation's announcement
This means those Funimation users who picked up physical copies of content and used their digital code won't be able to use them once Funimation merges with Crunchyroll on April 2. On the definition of "forever", Funimation's terms of service state the company can "without advance notice... immediately suspend or terminate the availability of the Service and/or content (and any elements and features of them), in whole or in part, for any reason."
Given the above statement, it's clear that despite the company's guarantee of buyers being able to access their content "forever," that was never the case. Buyers of this digital content never actually owned any of the media they were purchasing, as Funimation always had the option of completely removing it "for any reason".
The debacle with Funimation's content limiting is an example of the caution users should take on solely relying on streaming services to enjoy media. Streaming companies telling users they will give permanent access to content they have purchased is a farce and should be viewed as a red flag. A prime example of this is what is happening at Funimation.
It was only in December that PlayStation announced that users who purchased Discovery content through the PlayStation Store would lose access to that content "due to our content licensing arrangements." However, a few weeks after that announcement and just 10 days before the expected end of service for that content, PlayStation said the content would remain on its service "due to updated licensing arrangements."
This is another clear example of the see-saw experience users can have that solely rely on digitally purchased content.