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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Right or Wrong? » » A Question of Ethics, Converting VHS to DVD (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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MagiUlysses
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Greetings and Salutations,

I couldn't find an appropriate spot for this question, and as I respect the posters to this particular forum, I thought I'd ask it here (until the powers that be move it to where they will).

DVD recorders are getting cheaper by the day, and sometime mid-year 2004 I plan on getting one, and the first thing I'm going to do is re-record all my magic VHS tapes onto DVDs, for all of the obvious reasons.

Now, for my question, what do I do with the VHS tapes? My significant other doesn't want another box of magic piled anywhere. For the most part, I perform, or have performed and want to keep in my repertiore the magic I've learned from those tapes. It seems idiotic to burn them, or toss them in the trash, and about the only place I can/could store them, i.e., garage or attic, would be the equivalent of destroying them. I'd like them to go to a good, ethical home. The question became more real when I picked up Michael Ammar's deal on a DVD set of his cups and balls set. He offered a discount to anyone that had the VHS version, and now I have both, and with the DVDs, there's no need for the VHS.

What are your thoughts? I'd particularly like to ask this of Whit, Pete, Bill, Koz and Nolan, who deal in intellectual properties, but anyone with an opinion please respond.

Thanks,

Joe in KC

Live a great adventure, make magic happen!
kid iowa
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How about donating the VHS tapes to a local magic club? Or, if you know of an upcoming newbie that you think has potential, a nice gift of some of your vids could make their year.
Any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile...can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction, "I served in the United States Navy." J.F.K.
Jordan Piper
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I agree with kid iowa; donate them or trade them with some of your fellow magi for items you don't have.
cfrye
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The situation as I see it is that if you trade or even give away your VHS copy of the material then you have unfairly profited from another person's intellectual property without compensation. If you were to donate your only copy of a tape, it would be OK because you would no longer have the use of the material (equivalent to giving away a car). However, by copying to DVD and therefore retaining the use of the material, you benefit from the material while passing the same material to someone else who either didn't pay for it or paid you for material to which you don't own the rights.

In a nutshell: if you keep a copy of the material on DVD and then give away the VHS copies without the permission of the copyright holder, you have violated their rights. I almost said "stolen," but it's obvious you want to do the ethical thing in this situation.

What I recommend is that you contact the copyright holders directly and ask their permission to donate the tapes to a magic library. If they choose not to grant that permission, you should either keep the tapes or destroy them.
Pete Biro
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Wow, tough question.

I donated some tapes to the Magic Castle Library, but I didn't make DVD copies... I have over 100+ VHS and BETAMAX tapes and would like to convert 'em, but don't quite know how.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
BroDavid
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I agree with Curtis.

You cannot have two copies of the material in independent use by two different parties as the essence of the purchase is "single use."

As for making "back up" copies on DVD, I believe that is typically permissible under copyright law, even if you intend to primarily use the DVD instead of the VHS tapes. However, the back up and primary copy are still only for a single use. So you either need to destroy them or hold onto them.

I can't imagine many copyright owners saying "go ahead make a copy for yourself, and give the original to...whomever." If folks did that, even with the best intentions, it is still taking away a potential sale from the author/distributor. It could happen, but it would be quite a specific exceptional case.

Another related issue that really ticks me off is the person who buys a tape or DVD learns 2-3 tricks off it, and then sells it, while continuing to perform the effects gleaned from the recording. That is just plain wrong!

I see a lot of DVDs and tapes for sale here, where the seller comes right out and says, "I learned all the effects, so I am selling this item."

When you buy the item, you are buying performance rights (possibly limited ones--some do not allow TV etc) but you are buying the effect and rights to perform. When you sell it, you no longer own the right to perform it!

So the decision situation ought to be easy. If you don't perform the stuff, go ahead and sell the DVD or tape. But if you do perform it, hold on it. It is just plain right.

Brodavid
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what
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I'm sure that this post will bring a plethora of opinions, so here's mine.

I have a friend who works at a tape duplication studio. Would it be O.K. if I took my Michael Ammar tapes in and had them duplicated? I would donate a copy to my magic club and give some away as Christmas gifts to my magician friends. I would even duplicate the artwork for them so the duplicates would look professional. A couple of them might be good trades for other magic supplies. It would score me more stuff and make me the envy of all of my magician friends. If it elevates me in terms of status and possessions, then it must be O.K. right?

How about if I bring the duplicating studio home in a semi truck? Then I can duplicate from the street in front of my house. Hey, I could even drive to my friends homes to duplicate their magic tapes, and movies. This is getting better all the time. And it's much more convenient than taking my tapes in after hours (Why was it that he said he couldn't do the work during work hours anyway? (I forget, but let's move on anyway.)

Hey, I could shrink the duplication studio (I am a magician after all) to size of a VHS player and do the duplication right in my living room. Boy, would my friends be pleased with me. I could scan the artwork on my computer and print it on my color printer (I shrunk those duplication studios a few years ago). My magic club could have a copy of all of my magic videos and I would be considered the coolest cat in the club. I wouldn't even have to ask my friend to drive the truck over, or sneak into work after hours. This method is even more ethical than the previous two because I could do it all by myself, without involving somebody else. Wow!! I should have thought of this shrinking duplication machine before.

I think that maybe I shouldn't ask for money for these copies. After all, that would be unethical. But I could trade... yes, yes...trade for cool stuff. It's much more ethical to trade for cool stuff than to take money. Everyone knows that, right?

I could donate the copies to my magic club. No, I'll give them the original and keep the copy myself. This way I can avoid all ehtical challenges to do with stuff. I will not receive any stuff for my duplication efforts. My magic club will receive the stuff and I will be free of the ethical responsibility for the duplicates. What do you think?

Thanx for letting me ramble,

Mike
Magic is fun!!!
K-Max
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Both BroDavid and What are correct in their thinking. I understand that you are trying to do the correct thing, which I applaud, but distributing copies is wrong. If you really wish to donate them to your magic club then just give them the originals. Besides, if you ever wanted to see them again you could just check them out.

But be warned, many videos specifically state that they are not for club usage. Best bet is to keep them for yourself and pass them on for free when you are completely done with them.
glodmagic
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I think you should simply send them all to me. I will "evaluate" them and make the hard decision for you. Smile

I grapple with the same issue myself.
Technically-Legally (and I am by no means an attorney but this is common knowledge) the tapes specify that NO duplication is allowed (even for yourself in your own home).

I disagree with the donation aspect. If you retain a copy and pass along the intellectual property a donation is still a transfer of property.

It is also unfair to flood the community with secrets that they would have had to spend considerable cash to learn. Some magic is kept secret by being pricey so that every overnight wonder won't check it out then quit. It's a minor deterrent but imagine a world where all our magic DVDs were at your local Blockbuster. Not to buy, but to rent for a couple of bucks. It would be "curtains" for us.
Remember ANY of your posts here can be Googled by your customers and Clients. Just entering your name in Google can bring up your negative comments that stay for years!
Jeff Dial
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Speaking of magic libraries, as librarian for our club library I had a decision to make. The way the library had been run in the past was to only allow COPIES of VHS tapes to go out for loan. The librarian would hold the originals in case the copy was "lost." This also evolved into borrowing tapes from members and making copies for the library.

We finally had to destroy all the copies and only distribute originals. (This cut our video library to a third of its original size.) This was a hard pill for some to swallow as they saw the potential for loss of materials and funds. We did put a mechanism into place to collect a deposit up front to cover the cost of lost materials.
"Think our brains must be too highly trained, Majikthise" HHGG
Reis O'Brien
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Oh please! You paid for the tapes, and now you want them in a more convenient format for your own personal archives and will soon have the technology to do so. Then you can donate them out of the kindness of your heart. I say copy them. As long as you're not giving away or selling the COPIES, then you will still go to multimedia heaven.
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John LeBlanc
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Quote:
On 2003-12-22 20:02, MagiUlysses wrote:
DVD recorders are getting cheaper by the day, and sometime mid-year 2004 I plan on getting one, and the first thing I'm going to do is re-record all my magic VHS tapes onto DVDs, for all of the obvious reasons.

Now, for my question, what do I do with the VHS tapes? My significant other doesn't want another box of magic piled anywhere. For the most part, I perform, or have performed and want to keep in my repertiore the magic I've learned from those tapes. It seems idiotic to burn them, or toss them in the trash, and about the only place I can/could store them, i.e., garage or attic, would be the equivalent of destroying them. I'd like them to go to a good, ethical home. The question became more real when I picked up Michael Ammar's deal on a DVD set of his cups and balls set. He offered a discount to anyone that had the VHS version, and now I have both, and with the DVDs, there's no need for the VHS.


A couple of years ago I began converting my VHS tapes to VCD. Then about a year ago I purchased a DVD burner and hauled them out again and started converting them to DVD.

Most of the VHS tapes are converted and they're boxed up and in the attic. I am not going to donate or sell them. And here's why.

I did not buy a single copy of a VHS tape, I bought a single copy of the contents of the VHS tape. If I convert that copy to VCD or DVD I feel a moral and ethical obligation to honor the spirit of the original deal, which is I own a copy of the contents.

Selling the tape or giving it away while keeping the VCD or DVD is wrong. It's as wrong as giving a copy of a PDF file you purchased, while keeping a copy for yourself, if the owner states his preference that you not do so. (In case you're wondering what the copyright holder actually thinks, pick up the phone or write email and ask.)

Intellectual property value is not hard to understand. It's the reason you poke out $30 for a DVD of David Regal rather than purchasing a blank at Circuit City. Obviously it's not the piece of plastic you value; it's the stuff stored on it.

John LeBlanc
Houston, TX
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"One thought fills immensity." -- William Blake
glodmagic
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Firedice,
I was stating the obvious because everyone is saying I think its ok to....

I'm no primadonna and own a DVD recorder too.

What you do in your bedroom with a rubber chicken, maple syrup, goggles, and a diaper on is Your Business.
If a poster is asking us to resolve a moral dilemma, I am mounting my halo.

BTW, I should have plenty of tapes on ebay soon. Smile
Remember ANY of your posts here can be Googled by your customers and Clients. Just entering your name in Google can bring up your negative comments that stay for years!
MagiUlysses
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Greetings and Salutations One & All,

Thank you all for the excellent responses. They have resulted in an agreement with my significant other to find a nice spot in the basement for the tapes once they've been dubbed. She understood the "performance rights" issue once I likened it to the car anology. Thanks, cfrye.

The question I should have asked is, "is there an ethical way to donate the original tapes/give them away?" But the consensus is that if you use the material, keep the original source, which is completely valid, re: performance rights. I just didn't want a valuable resource to be locked away from a potential worthy recipient, if such an arangement were legal, ethical, moral and wholesome for the entire family. Smile

Someone raised the question of dubbing a copy for one's own use. Having dealt with copyrights most of my adult life, as a photographer, writer, and publisher; there's nothing that I'm aware of that will even slow one down from making a copy of a published work -- in whatever form -- if you purchased the book/tape/etc. and the copy is for personal use. You run into trouble when you distribute the copied material in exchange for goods, money, wampum, etc. I raised the original question because I was not seeking any compensation in return for the donation.

Once again, thanks all, and Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, or Happy Holiday of Your Choice!

Joe in KC

Live a great adventure, make magic happen!
JamesinLA
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I agree, Joe, that in the one situation where you have bought one copy of a tape and then burned your own dvd versions, that ethically, you shouldn't give/sell the tapes to anyone else. The point being, that with computer software, you are allowed to install the same software on multiple computers--say your desktop and your laptop--as long as you only use one of them at a time. If you lend or give the VHS tapes to someone else, then you and this other person should not "use" both copies at the same time.

However, I think you also had a second situation (correct me if I'm wrong). The situation where you originally bought the Ammar cups and balls tape and then also purchased (albeit at an upgrade price) the dvd version. In this case, I believe you are free to do what you will with the VHS copy. Since you paid for the dvd copy you now own this dvd copy free and clear of the VHS copy.

That's as far as my thinking goes.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Peter Marucci
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Joe,
You will be swamped with suggestions, so why shouldn't I join the fray? Smile

I agree wholeheartedly with Kid Iowa: Donate the old VHS tapes to a magic club.

Purists will argue that there is a major ethical issue here. Hey, we're talking about magic, not national security!

There are probably about three people in the world that will do what you are doing (transferring magic tapes to DVD), so that's hardly a big deal for any single producer of magic videos.

Besides, when it gets down to the nitty-gritty, remember the order:

Your significant other doesn't want another box of magic lying around.

Disregard a statement from the SO at your peril!

(In other words, which is most important in your life? Nuf sed.)

cheers,
Peter Marucci
John LeBlanc
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I received a couple of emails from people asking how I go about copying VHS tapes to DVD. I could write a step-by-step but it wouldn't be as useful as this web site, which I send people to:

http://www.dvdrhelp.com

Like most things, nothing is as easy as it should be, but after your first couple of rounds, you'll find the process fairly simple.

John LeBlanc
Houston, TX
Escamoteurettes, my blog.

"One thought fills immensity." -- William Blake
JimMaloney
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Quote:
On 2003-12-23 20:28, John W. LeBlanc wrote:
A couple of years ago I began converting my VHS tapes to VCD. Then about a year ago I purchased a DVD burner and hauled them out again and started converting them to DVD.

Most of the VHS tapes are converted and they're boxed up and in the attic. I am not going to donate or sell them. And here's why.

I did not buy a single copy of a VHS tape, I bought a single copy of the contents of the VHS tape. If I convert that copy to VCD or DVD I feel a moral and ethical obligation to honor the spirit of the original deal, which is I own a copy of the contents.

Selling the tape or giving it away while keeping the VCD or DVD is wrong. It's as wrong as giving a copy of a PDF file you purchased, while keeping a copy for yourself, if the owner states his preference that you not do so. (In case you're wondering what the copyright holder actually thinks, pick up the phone or write email and ask.)

Intellectual property value is not hard to understand. It's the reason you poke out $30 for a DVD of David Regal rather than purchasing a blank at Circuit City. Obviously it's not the piece of plastic you value; it's the stuff stored on it.


John is dead-on with his comments. It really upsets me that people can have such disrespect for the creators and producers of that they have no problem distributing copies of their material. I don't care what your justification is, if you make a copy of something and give one (either the original or the copy) to someone else, and you keep the other, it is wrong. It's black and white -- no room for argument. Why is this so hard for people to understand?

Grr.

-Jim
Books and Magazines for sale -- more than 200 items (Last updated January 17th, 2014. Link goes to public Google Doc.)
Ellen Kotzin
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With me...I have tons of performances and acts etc..which were first on TV and taped for my personal use. Now--since I want to categorize each trick etc...I only thought a dvd would be simpler and plus easier to take care of, more compact than the VCR tapes.

Ellen
Mike Robbins
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The LAST place I'd donate videos would be a club. There'll be dozens of copies in members "libraries" in a week!



Mike
The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.
Shakespeare
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