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Film Ownership - Moral Question

Pleasence

Active Member
This question is not to do with the legality of downloading films, but the morality.

In your opinion if you own a VHS copy of a film, but want to view a better quality DVD-rip do you think its fair to the film producers to download it? Likewise, with HD; if you own a DVD and/or VHS copy of a film is it 'ok' morally to download an HD version without paying?
I'm not sure on fair use laws here (in the UK) but as far as I know this would be illegal.
 

JamesOD

Active Member
I would say yes (and before I get a roasting I have purchased over 500 DVDs and laserdiscs before that).

My real gripe is with greedy studios who think it is acceptable to release multiple copies of the same products repeatedly (star wars, aliens, back to the future etc.) with a new transfer or a few extra minutes of footage and still expect you to buy them again rather than offer a rebate scheme to original purchasers.
 

Goooner

Distinguished Member
I would say yes too.

Same with downloading TV shows. My current DVD collection stands at around 1100 and I've probably sold/traded half as many again, so the studios certainly get their moneys worth out of me and then some:)
 

MrBlofeldt

Banned
I suppose you've got to ask yourself, do you consider downloading movies as theft ? If so then the theft of a movie has got to be considered morally wrong, however, do you then consider the level of theft ? Would stealing candy from a baby be more immoral than say, stealing a loaf of bread in order to eat.

From a personal point of view, I have downloaded various items, but I would say I have bought many more, simply because I like to own the movie ith all the added extras, the documentaries, the outtakes, the blooper reels and the easter eggs, you just don't (generally) get that when you download.

Back to the original question, no, I do not consider it morally wrong, but it is certainly morally questionable.
 

Pleasence

Active Member
I own hundreds of DVDs myself and certainly wouldn't consider myself a thief as the industry might brand me for the occasional download. One of the reasons I raise the question is because I recently found myself downloading Goldeneye to play on my projector, I own all the bond films on VHS but don't have a VHS player linked to projector. Although when the price is right I may end up getting a few of the new ultimate editions anyway.

If anyone knows the law in this area I'd really be interested to know, are there any test cases where a judge has convicted someone for 'pirating' a film they already own?
 

Marc

Distinguished Member
your argument is flawed however.

What happens if i go down to blockbusters and buy an old VHS of, lets say, terminator 2.. it costs me £50p from their bargain bucket, so then by your thinking, for 50p i now have the right to own the HD-DVD version which would cost £20

there's no justifying piracy, if you do it, at least be a man (or woman) and accept that you do it and don't try to make excuses for it.
 

Mark_a

Well-known Member
Quite so. By the same logic just because BMW make a lot of profit from making cars cheaply and selling them at premium prices it's somehow gives me the moral right to go and steal one from one of their showrooms.

Regards

Mark
 

Goooner

Distinguished Member
Just being Devils Advocate here, how about if you could go to the BMW showroom and make an identical copy of one of their cars and drive that away, still leaving them with the original car?

When I first got broadband, I, like a lot of other people, I'm sure, used to download loads of films and stuff, just because I could. To be honest, 99% of them I never even got to watch and ended up deleting them. I find if I'm interested enough in a movie, I'll go and see it at the cinema or get the DVD.

TV shows are different, I'll download those as we never know when or even if we are ever going to see them here and if I like them I'll buy the DVD as soon as it's available anyway.
 

Marc

Distinguished Member
Goooner said:
Just being Devils Advocate here, how about if you could go to the BMW showroom and make an identical copy of one of their cars and drive that away, still leaving them with the original car?

and how long before no one needed to go to the BMW showroom at all? They could just make a duplicate of their next door neighbour's car, and save themselves the hassle. ;)

but alas, without the money from sales of BMW's, the company wouldn't be able to afford to make the next improved model, and in the end BMW would go bankrupt and we'd all be stuck with our 2005 model, which after a few years would be out of date and not keeping up with the rest of the market ;)

don't you just love analogies?
 

Knyght_byte

Distinguished Member
i dont mind the idea of buying the VHS, then buying the DVD, then buying the HD version...

i do object to them abusing things like Lucas is doing now, releases his new versions on DVD, then releases his old versions on DVD, knowing all along that the fans actually want the old versions but clean and with 5.1 sound......they dont want extra crap scenes/CGI added on.....however they want a good quality extract from the master, not some cheap passover from a LD one done moons ago.....

Lucas isnt the only one tho, lots of film studios released films in the earlier days of DVD with quite crap transfers, basic sound mixes, quite often just stereo :eek: with no extras....only to release them again with a reasonably good transfer, 5.1 sound, but still almost no extras.......THEN they release the special edition uncut with a good transfer, 6.1 DTS and lots of extras.......

given the likes of The Abyss were released fairly early on with a good 2 disc special Ed, the other releases that have since been redone have no ground to stand on in my opinion....
 

Marc

Distinguished Member
i agree some production companies are taking the **** a bit with their multiple releases, but it isn't always so clear cut to say that they're ripping us off by releasing better copies now.

Remember that when DVD first appeared, things like 5.1 surround and widescreen televisions were far from mainstream, which is why there were a lot of prologic letterbox movies about, and dts was non existant due to it's lack of compatibility with a normal "stereo" systems.

OK so some of the production companies saw further ahead and made their dvd's future proof, but at what cost? The special edition of abyss you speak of, normally retails for about a fiver these days, and the fact that it's ALWAYS on sale suggests to me that in terms of supply and demand, demand isn't quite as expected.

Whereas I still have the original R2 release of "The Thing" from 5 years ago because for it's time it was a brilliant dvd, with quite a few extras and great picture/sound quality, (however, i can't even watch it now, due to it's non anamorphic video)

without seeing actual sales figures, any argument is fairly pointless, but i would hazard a guess that so-called quality dvd's were wasted on the market during the early years of dvd, and bringing out special editions now, isn't always an attempt to rip off the publc (i'd kill for an anamorphic dts version of "the thing")
 

Mark_a

Well-known Member
No one compels you to buy any particular version. Going back to car analogies you can buy many similar cars with slightly different specs. It's up to you the buyer which one you want. If you don't think something's value for money at the time then don't buy it. If you do, you can't then complain that something else has come along that you'd like more. If you like it sufficiently more then buy it, if not be happy with what you've got.

Regards

Mark
 

Pleasence

Active Member
Piracy is an amazing piece of PR by the film companies, copywrite infringement has nothing to do with the crime of piracy.

I'm not talking about downloading films you don't already own, that would mean you're not paying the producers of the film giving them no incentives to make more films. However by not paying for new HD versions I suppose you're not paying the people who have re-scanned the original print at a higher resolution, surely they can allow owners of previous versions to download the new higher quality versions, they more than pay for the re-scan with all new sales of the DVD/HDDVD etc. to people who don't already own the film.

'be a man' 'own up to it' - maybe you need to be a man and own up to the fact that the problem isn't as clear cut as right and wrong, you can't just dismiss all this discussion, as we spend more and more on source material, buying it over and over this is an important debate.

Edit: Changed 'Marketing' to 'PR'
 

Marc

Distinguished Member
the whole thing falls down though when you realise you can't have a moral debate about something which defies legality, because what you're doing is saying, is it morally right to break the laws that have been put in place to guide us. The answer to that question is always no.

Personally i don't have an issue with downloading whatever the hell i feel like watching. Do i think i have a moral right to do so? Only if i'm really drunk.. it's wrong, and that IS black and white.. do i care? not in the slightest! It's me that's morally wrong, not the downloading :D
 

Pleasence

Active Member
Marc said:
the whole thing falls down though when you realise you can't have a moral debate about something which defies legality, because what you're doing is saying, is it morally right to break the laws that have been put in place to guide us. The answer to that question is always no.
Tell that to Oskar Schindler
 

Ger

Active Member
Found myself in a similar situation yesterday. I have been mulling over which version of (Spike Lee's) Inside Man to get (R1 with all the extras or cheaper R2 from CDWOW with no extras?). Anyway, got a text from a friend yesterday morning to say that he had "a copy" of it on DVD and did I want a lend of it. I said yes and he said he'd drop it in my letterbox. I got home and found a CDR on the hall floor with Inside Man scribbled on the surface!

So do I watch it or buy it like I was going to? The quality isn't great (watched the first couple of minutes to test it out :rolleyes: ), but definitely watchable. I haven't seen the film yet, so if I watch the CDR it could put me off buying the DVD.

Last year, I got a DVDR copy of Episode III from a friend (just after it hit the cinema) and gave it to my 6 year old nephew who is crazy about Star Wars (I checked that disk first to make sure there was nothing seedy spliced in the film). He was going to get the DVD anyway for Christmas and had already seen it in the cinema so I didn't see the harm (he doesn't really know the difference between a legit and pirate copy, so wasn't setting a bad example :cool: ).

What do people think? Should I watch Inside Man and is the Episode III thing morally okay?
 

Mark_a

Well-known Member
Taking something that doesn't belong to you has for millennia been considered to be wrong. Just because technology now makes it easy doesn't change the situation.

Regards

Mark
 
D

Deleted member 36193

Guest
To mix a couple of comments here, if downloading a newer/better version of a film you own is OK, then going to BMW with a knackered old car and taking a new Z4 instead is OK? I don't think so.

Theft is theft. Piracy is piracy. Either you're a thief or you're not.

Moral issues? Many people have no morals when there's a quick buck to be made, or a freebie to be had.

It amazes me how many people who would regard themselves as law-abiding citizens get mixed up in crime. But to them, crime is something others commit.
 
D

Deadsquirrel

Guest
I'll be honest, i download loads of films and music etc. and i couldn't care less about the corporations behind the production of them.
If the movie or album i have downloaded is good i will buy it on DVD or CD, if on the other hand i didn't like the movie or music then the download has saved me some £.

Same thing if i find a wallet on the pavement full of cash, if there is an I.D. inside the wallet then i will return it, if there is no I.D. then i'll keep the money myself (i'd never ever pass a wallet into a police station cos those guys just can't be trusted, even if the wallet does have I.D.)

The one thing about copyright law is i feel sorry for guy's working on Oil Rigs as they get to watch nothing.
 

Ger

Active Member
Deadsquirrel said:
If the movie or album i have downloaded is good i will buy it on DVD or CD, if on the other hand i didn't like the movie or music then the download has saved me some £.

Its a good point. When going to see a film or renting/buying a DVD you can't return to the shop/ticket-desk and say that the film didn't do what was advertised on the poster and demand your money back. When buying any other product if it doesn't do whatever its supposed to, then you can get a refund, but movie studios can load posters with all kinds of quotes and tag lines to describe a film (that are frequently a load of crap) to entice people to see it. If these turn out to be untrue, then they get to keep your money anyway.
 

Goooner

Distinguished Member
Ger said:
So do I watch it or buy it like I was going to? The quality isn't great (watched the first couple of minutes to test it out :rolleyes: ), but definitely watchable. I haven't seen the film yet, so if I watch the CDR it could put me off buying the DVD.


What do people think? Should I watch Inside Man and is the Episode III thing morally okay?

Watch it, if you like it, buy it. No different to waiting until it shows up on TV (DVD would probably be cheaper by then anyway :) Or watching a mates copy. OK, so if you watch a mates copy, it's been paid for in the first place, but what if he lends it to 50 other mates, the studio is getting no more money for that same DVD, same goes for buying second hand, they've still only received the revenue for one copy.
 

pmc

Active Member
You also need to take into account the rip of cost that the studios expect us to pay. I own a good £1000 worth of DVD's and closer to £10000 worth of CD's. I am not rich and though spread over a number of years this is significant amount of expenditure. Add to that who knows how gigs and visits to the cinema and the film and music industry have cetainly got their pound of flesh from me.

If DVD's were less than a fiver and CD's 3 quid I would NEVER download anything, but that simply isn't the case. I think it's morally wrong of the studios to expect me to pay £10 for 2 hours entertainment that I might not even like but have been drawn to by their PR machine. What I do is get DVD's from Blockbuster and 'back them up', then watch them at my leasure. I am still paying for the rental, just not the ridiculous cost of buying it outright. If I really like a movie then I'll buy it when it eventually finds it way into the bargain bin.

With music I have to say downloading has made me buy more CD's! I can't count how many bands I have tried via the internet over the years and then gone out and bought there entire back catalogue. On the other hand there are plenty where I've thought, nah not really good enough and thus saved myself a few quid.

So I suppose what I am saying is that I don't think it's morally wrong to try before you buy. As long a you then put something back afterwards. I do think it's wrong just to download everything without ever actually buying anything. To me it's about bringing the price of ownership down to a level that I feel is reasonable. If the record companies and studios weren't ripping us off we wouldn't need to find ourselves in this moral grey area.
 

Cloysterpeteuk

Distinguished Member
For me moral don't even come into it, i've never downloaded a film and very likely never will simply because I want to view films on my widescreen tele, not on my 17" monitor!. That and the fact I could never be bothered waiting for something like that to download. Of course I could download them and whack em on a disc to play in the DVD player but it's just way too much hassle for me to bother when I can just buy the DVD and all the hassle is removed for a very reasonable cost.

I'm more than happy to wait for the DVD to come out and i'm more than happy to wait until I can get the movie I want for a fiva, I really couldn't careless whether or not I get to see the movie in 2006 or 2008!, really makes no difference as I have so many discs to watch already.

What I do download is the odd tv show, of which i've downloaded about four or five shows which are not on terrestrial (except Lost), then there's the odd stuff like Tremors series which I have no other way of watching. Very likely I will then purchase the DVD as I have done with over 100 tv boxsets, not because I feel some moral obligation to do so but because I want to want it on a full size screen with excellent PQ, Sound and bonus features.
 
P

pags payback

Guest
I don't download but I can't see the problem with it. It's like getting /borrowing a copy from a friend IF we like it, we buy it. Without friends lending/making me copies the music industry would've lost out on thousands of £'s of purchases that led from those"illegal" copies.

Anyway what's the difference between downloading a film & watching it on TV. The studios still make their money from TV rights & we don't spend any extra money to see it.

Those who don't buy wouldn't buy anyway so it's hardly revenue lost as they make you believe.

I think those who buy early editions should have the option to get the new version for a fraction of the price of the new one, paying a little more for the discs, case & new tranfer/sound mix/ extras but nowhere near full price.

It seems early apdopters of new films always get screwed. It's far worse with new films that get rereleased in 6-12months after the initial release to discover a betterr 2 or even dvd edition.
 
D

Deleted member 36193

Guest
It comes down to this. Do you pay for what you want, or do you steal it? If it's not worth what the "ripoff" film companies ask, then don't buy it. Just don't say that stealing it is morally OK just because you don't feel like paying for it.
 

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