Jay: Most companies state that if you purchase something as a download, YOU are responsible for backing up the original downloaded file. (Apple’s iTunes Music Store, for example.) Some (Symantec) offer a ‘redownload’ service for an additional fee. Symantec will sell you any of their software as a download (for the same price as a box in a store, I might add,) then have the nerve to charge you an extra $16 for the right to redownload it. So, say, 4 months down the road, you catch a virus that wipes out your hard drive completely (you did BUY Norton AntiVirus online, you just forgot to run the updates.) Without their redownload service, you’re screwed. But because you paid them an extra $16, they will let you redownload Norton AntiVirus. (Good thing you printed out that confirmation email with your username and password, right?)
I currently have four copies of my iTunes Music Store ‘purchased music’ library. One in iTunes, one using Apple’s ‘Backup’ on my .Mac folder, one using Backup on a CD-R, and one burned to an Audio CD. (I actually have up to 8 copies of a given song, depending on how long ago I bought it; and therefore how many CD backups it’s been included in.)