Image Processing Reference
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of obligation to support prior purchasers of their product, even if collectively they make
obsolete a redundant format such as vinyl, 8-track tape, or audiocassette. The days of the
VHS cassette are certainly numbered, but no one would suggest that the record companies
should offer an upgrade to a DVD copy at a nominal charge. We take low-cost upgrades
for granted with software purchases, but it doesn't seem to apply to music and video.
Customers that purchased titles in older formats have the right to continue enjoying
them. The industry must decide whether it is reasonable that media companies charge the
full price to someone who already owns the Betamax, VHS, LaserVision, or DVD version
of a movie when it gets released on some holographic storage format and the legacy
players for the old formats have become obsolete or have worn out and are no longer
Rewarding the Content Creator
The arguments become a moral issue when the original author, artist, or director receives
no additional reward or residual royalties because the original contract is interpreted to
only include the originally available distribution channels. It is outrageous that large
organizations retain 100% of the profits from re-releases without passing any of them on
to the creator of that content. Not making allowances for the customer already having pur-
chased the product in previous formats while criminalizing the last few fair-use rights we
have is also unreasonable.
Thus, what might seem to be the morally correct and honorable approach is in fact
the exact opposite of the way that recording contracts and copyright law are interpreted.
Control Systems Need to Allow Some Slack
If the copy proofing and duplication restrictions are too draconian then they start to affect
legitimate duplication processes. While the interests of the large corporate copyright hold-
ers are protected, small independent rights owners find they are disadvantaged. This hap-
pens when levies are charged on blank media, for example. Implicit in those levies is the
right to copy but this gets charged to people who are copying home movies they've shot
and edited themselves. Video recorders have many uses that are outside the sphere of
copyright infringement.
Why We Need It
At the other extreme, the ease of copying commercial content dramatically reduces poten-
tial revenue earnings because fewer “master” copies are sold through the retail channels.
This is blatant theft. The excuse that the perpetrator was not ever going to buy a copy
anyway doesn't hold any water. It certainly causes loss of revenue, although some of the
assertions by the industry as to how much revenue is lost are absurd. They are calculations
of what they might have sold but these are probably somewhat idealized. Because the fig-
ures are speculative they can be exaggerated without any burden of proof.
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