Open letter to the Movie Industry

50gb Blu-Ray disc

Dear Movie Industry,

I love movies. I go to the cinema nearly every week, buy and watch lots of DVDs and occasionally catch a flick on TV. I also love high definition video, and now that the ‘format war’ is finally settled I’m looking into buying a Blu-Ray disc player. My problem is however that I own hundreds of movies on ‘standard resolution’ DVDs. I’m afraid these will look poor by comparison, and will eventually have to be replaced.

Can you please clarify if, upon buying my DVD copy of a movie I…:

  1. … paid exclusively for the disc.
  2. … paid for the right to own (a copy of) and watch the movie.
  3. … paid for both, and if so, in what proportion.

If options two or three apply, I’d like to know how I can get my DVDs replaced by Blu-Ray discs. Do I have to mail them to you? I searched the web, but could not find any information about this. Since I already paid a license fee for the copyright-protected materials, I imagine a disc replacement policy of some sort must be in place, right? I assume my loyalty as a customer is to be rewarded by offering me these new HD discs for (nearly) free (option 2) or at a discount (option 3)?

Might I suggest you start some sort of database that keeps track of these things, so that I will be able to easily order new copies of my movies when the next distribution format sees the light of day? Whether it be a holographic cube, a Quad-HD disc or some sort for downloadable format, I’d very much like to know that my purchases are safe from becoming technically obsolete. I’m convinced I’ll love my favorite movies long after Blu-Ray is dead and gone.

Thank you in advance for your reply,

Roy Tanck

P.S. I’m posting this on my weblog because my local Dutch copyright organization does not offer a contact form on their website. Also, I’m afraid this will affect customers in other countries as well.


  1. Nope, this must be a Netherlands-only issue. We get free replacements everywhere else. 🙂

    Seriously, it’s quite a crooked business isn’t it? Same with the music industry. I’ve probably lost/had stolen/broke more CDs than I currently own, I bought these lost disks and tapes, yet I will be called a criminal if I download a replacement from P2P.

    This is why I love the PC games platform Steam so much. I was very wary of digital subscribership to content at first, but Steam lets me re-download content I’ve lost at any time, on as many computers as I wish (at the same time). I can even have 10 people logged in to my account playing 10 games, as long as no 2 people are playing the same game. Imagine the music and movie industries had such a model!

    Comment by Brian — June 26, 2008 @ 12:24 pm

  2. I got an answer from a Dutch organization that represents video distributors. Apparently there’s no license attached to DVDs. Your simply buying the disc (option 1).

    So I’ve been paying ten to fifteen euros for slabs of plastic that cost only cents to produce. The copyrighted materials on the disc are protected by law, so there’s no need to sell me any kind of license.

    Still, since the cost of the physical disc really is very low, I will for the most part end up paying twice for the same movie. Just because the copyright holder has the exclusive monopoly for producing copies. Don’t you just love how copyright law works?

    Comment by Roy — June 26, 2008 @ 12:42 pm

  3. huge fan of open letters. seriously: (not trying to spam you with URLs)just had to share! 🙂

    Comment by Brie — July 4, 2008 @ 2:42 am

  4. Coming to think of it, isn´t it ridiculous that I have to BUY a new car even if I owned the previous model?

    Seriously though, the smallest part of the cost of a BlueRay goes to those who made the film. First, 50% goes to whoever sells you the disc. Then Sony gets a certain royalty, just because they came up with BluRay. The production and packaging of the Disc costs also a bit.

    Comment by modifoo — August 3, 2008 @ 5:53 pm

  5. This is the problem with movie lovers everywhere and always has been. It started with video formats, then laser disks, then DVD now blu-ray. And it will keep happening.

    Comment by 6020fd — January 30, 2009 @ 11:32 am

  6. Очень интересный пост. Сам недавно искал в интернете данную тему и все обсуждения связанные с ней.

    Comment by movie — January 10, 2010 @ 8:09 pm