Netflix to users, developers: we own your viewing history | Ars Technica (click for full article) "Netflix has announced that it will change both its public application programming interfaces (APIs) and the terms of service to access them, essentially locking away users' rental history data and preventing them from using third-party applications to export it. At the same time, the company is making it harder for developers to integrate information from Netflix's API with data from other services as the company maneuvers to keep users within its own applications. On October 12, when Netflix aborted its spinoff of the physical disc rental business under the new "Qwikster" brand, it announced that the company's public API would continue to support DVD-related features (after previously announcing they would be retired as part of the split). But now Netflix is splitting its disc and streaming "catalog" databases, and dumping much of the metadata that developers had depended on from both the DVD and the streaming APIs. The functional changes eliminate nearly everything related to users' viewing history, including rental history, when rented disks are shipped and returned, when streamed films are watched, and the bookmark information for streamed videos paused in progress. The changes, most of which go into effect this September, were announced in Netflix's developer blog on June 15 by Daniel Jacobson, Netflix's director of engineering for the API. In part, they're driven by the shift in Netflix's strategic direction away from its movies-by-mail business and towards streaming movies, television shows, and its own branded content. But they also appear to prevent developers from using the Netflix library to aggregate a user's movie-watching history across competing services (combining Netflix and iTunes data, for example)-and to prevent developers from essentially wrapping Netflix's API as their own paid service."