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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 November 2005, 12:41 GMT
Entertainment agenda: Digital frustrations

We are asking what you feel passionate, angry or excited about in the entertainment world.

Concert booking fees, podcasts, DVD dubbing, eBooks, theatre captioning - these are some of the issues that, in the words of one contributor, "grind your gears".

But the dominant theme is frustration at the restrictions placed on the use of digital technologies when it comes to DVD and music - such as regions and copy protection.

The message is that you do not want to rip people off - but if the technology is there, you want to be able to use it without being treated like thieves.

Some people feel companies have their heads in the sand and are unreasonably inflexible. But these companies have to make money - so where is the middle ground? Is there a solution that can satisfy both sides?

Let us know your views - especially if you have had any good or bad experiences, or know of any applications that you think offer a sensible model for the future.

We also want you to continue to send any other gripes and discoveries across all areas of entertainment - arts, music, film, TV and radio.

And there is another subject on which we would like your views - if you buy a CD or DVD that says "proceeds go to charity", how much money do you think actually ends up with the charity? Is it 1% or 100%?

Have your say below.


Music and film companies want to intimately track our use of their media, licensing the use of software to us rather than selling it. Why, then, do we have to go out and buy new DVD of a film we "licensed the use of" on VHS? Why should we have to download an MP3 track from a paid-for site when we've bought it on a (modified copy-preventing) CD? If my CD collection gets stolen, why should I (as one Sony licence agreement on a music CD insists) delete all my MP3s from the hard drive when I still own the licence to listen to it? Media companies are always explaining how "Digital Rights" will provide fluidity in the way we use media, shifting music and video from media to device to device in a traceable, certifiable, secure manner. Why, then, are we forced to buy CDs which can only be listened to on CD players?
Alexander Whiteside, Canterbury, Kent

A lot of people take a lot of time to build up collections and take pride in owning a large CD and/or DVD collection. I am personally worried about how companies will handle new technology and information in solid state. DVDs have become especially popular, and CDs more so - do companies believe that everyone will replace - by spending more money - on purchasing newer formats? I do not think that CDs and DVDs will be replaced as quickly as cassettes and VHS - downloading has been popular, but it has not erased CD sales, Minidisc did not take over CDs either - the same will happen with DVDs I believe ... or, I hope.
Simon Columb, Telford, Shropshire

Never mind CD, DVD and DRM, which will ultimately be the death of established media companies, ie Sony's recent fracas's with The rootkit of all evil. What would really make a difference for myself is being able to access all the current BBC & ITV material on the internet as broadband streams from Madrid, just like I could if I was in the UK.

I am a UK citizen living in Europe, so what is the problem allowing me choice as an individual? All this keeping it within the borders of a country is quite frankly outdated. In this day an age, a company that is not prepared to move quickly is going to lose out on some absolute fabulous opportunities.

I have been looking at Sling as a method of say, asking my mother, brother, sister etc to install in the UK so that I could then stream certain terrestrial programmes to watch via broadband using the above method. Is it strictly legal.

This is all too difficult and unnecessary - come on BBC, work out a package that I can legitimately pay for at a reasonable price to watch UK material without all this messing around with third party tools, process etc.

If you don't, others will and some already are, and then you will have missed the boat as consumers like myself find other providers.
Mikel, Madrid, Spain

The regional encoding on DVDs should be removed - there are some DVDs that I would really like to buy but are only available in other regions!
Kathryn, Edinburgh, Scotland

Let me add another voice in wanting to do away with regional coding for DVDs. As a fan of many European and Asian television shows and movies, I can often only find these items for sale in regional codes for those areas so I am not able to purchase them. Unless the titles are very popular in the United States, they will not be manufactured at all for this region.
Edward Rozanski, Philadephia, PA, USA

Last summer I bought a lot of DVDs in Canada, where they are relatively cheap, to play here in the Czech Republic, where they are very expensive (why?) I now find that my DVDs are unplayable here thanks to regional coding. I am really kind of fussed about this. Nobody should expect me to sympathise with the whinings of those greedy illegitimate children who thought up that clever plan. I do not advocate breaking laws, but something should be done about this.
Shirley, Czech Republic

It is all about control. The music and film industries want to control the market, they fear the internet and try to stop "illegal" use etc because quite frankly people are sick of being ripped off and finally have an alternative to it.

Soon with the introduction of internet TV I have no doubt some "bright spark" will put a tax on that and then start taxing the internet much like a TV Licence pays for digital TV - which in my opinion is wrong.
Welli, Guildford, Surrey, UK

The music industry (and to a certain degree the film industry) claim that their high prices for their products are based on the cost of manufacturing and distributing the physical product, the cost of promoting the product, and the cost of the copyright, a value that is added to it to cover the value of the work to the artist and the companies.

How many years of selling CDs have to pass before promotional and copyright costs have been paid in full? Why are Beatles CDs still so expensive? Why are classical CDs so expensive?

Furthermore, according to the concept of copyright once I have purchased that item I have the right to copy it and play it as I wish: I have purchased my right to my copy of that product. Yet the Regions restriction system of DVDs, the copy-prevention on CDs and DVDs, and the ongoing high prices for replacing my old collection of CDs and DVDs put the lie to that. Meanwhile the amount of time copyright stays valid gets longer and longer.

Why can't I take a CD (or DVD) that I legitimately own and purchase a replacement (if it's broken) or a new format (going from VHS to DVD, for example) for a considerable saving on the full price, given that I've already paid for the promotion and copyright once already, leaving only manufacturing and distribution? Why can't I do the same thing online for just a nominal administration charge?

I live in a country where pirate DVDs are readily available for about 50 pence, while legal copies are about 13 Pounds. Why are the legal copies so expensive (in a country where average monthly salary is about 30 Pounds)? Why are the legal DVDs so expensive in the UK, compared to other countries (even the US)? If I purchase a pirate DVD of a film I already own legally in a different format, am I breaking the law?
James Carlyle-Clarke, Kuta, Bali, Indonesia (UK Expat)

I just want to bring up the impending death of the humble video recorder. When we are all forced to go digital, the analogue tuners in the millions of video recorders will be next to useless; you will only be able to record the channel you are watching, and then only if you are connecting your video recorder by Scart. In time I'm sure we'll get DVD recorders that can record one programme while we watch another, but it's unlikely that manufacturers will produce new digital video recorders. So there's going to be a huge pile of redundant video recorders at your local recycling centre very soon, and a lot of unhappy people, especially the elderly who will take a long time to adopt new DVD technology.
Stephen, Cambridge, UK

Remove all regional restrictions from products so that I can freely buy any CD/DVD I want from where I want. It may be more convenient to buy it from HMV than Play, but let that be my choice.

Stop overcharging and let's have a blanket price globally - in US Dollars if necessary. I bought Season One of Lost from the US for $45, HALF the series retails for 30 in the UK. Even paying the 16 import tax I am better off.

Stop trying to restrict legitimate purchasers of your product from what they can do with their purchases. The Sony rootkit case underlines the fact that the big companies think that every purchaser of their products is going to rip them off.

Embrace the phenomenon of torrenting. When your show airs on a TV channel it is in the public arena - millions would have recorded it to DVD or VHS as they were watching something else at the time. So why not offer the show as a torrent for two weeks after it has aired, free to download for anyone?
Simon Oxlade, Swindon UK

Thanks to cinemas conversion to digital, happening over the next few years, people with hearing or visual impairments can enjoy the cinema, via subtitled and audio described shows. Over 150 cinemas in the UK can now screen almost every popular release with subtitles and audio description. Around half of UK cinemas will be "accessible" by 2007. This is great news from my deaf son and his friends, some of whom are visually impaired. They are huge movie fans and until recently had to wait for the DVD release to enjoy the film, via subtitles and audio description (included on lots of discs).
Derek Brandon, London

I think the question is are record labels and movie studios more worried that the MP3, DVD and electronic books will encourage people to hear/watch the absolute tosh and the classic hit BEFORE they part with large amounts of cash!
Ben Gregory, rugby

Get rid of DVD Region coding. There wasn't any region coding with LPs, cassettes and videos so why do we have to put up with it for DVDs?
Jacob Busby, Soton, UK

One of the biggest barriers for music and film downloads or purchases in the UK is the price. You can buy the average chart album from Amazon for about 8, with full original packaging, and multiple handling and shipping costs. Yet downloading it costs a mere 50p less on providers such as iTunes where the overheads are massively lower. This elevated pricing is forced on online music providers by greedy labels which then complain when people naturally go after free illegal copies.

The easier it is to make use of legal digital facilities the more likely people are to embrace them. You still can't get the Beatles on iTunes - the biggest digital music provider in the world. But you can easily download them illegally.
Craig, Yorkshire

Firstly, the DVD manufacturers should do away with Regional Coding - if I buy a CD in another country it plays on my player, why not DVDs? Secondly, DVDs should come out at the same time as the movie. If I've just seen a good film I'd be more likely to buy the DVD as I come out of the cinema. It's not a case of either I see it at the cinema or I buy the DVD; I get both, so why must I wait?
Colin Suter, Earls Barton, England

I am absolutely disgusted at the way eBay let people sell tickets way over the odds. Because this can now happen, genuine people who want to go to gigs can't these days because your average Joe in the street thinks that he or she can buy them now and make a quick killing on eBay.

Ever since this has been allowed to happen, big gigs are selling out quicker because people know that they can make money on them by putting them up for auction and making a quick buck out of them.

The sooner flea bay stops letting people sell concert and event tickets the better, because then perhaps the real music lover who appreciates the joys of a live music event will be able to get a ticket.
Phil Donnachie, Folkestone, England

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