Online petition

Nikon's latest DVD Creative Lighting System (hands-on guide) is only available in the US. A reader from Canada contacted Nikon on this matter and this is the response he got:

Hello xxxx, … It is not that Nikon Canada won’t sell the DVD, we can’t sell it as we do not have distribution rights. … Regards, xxxx.

What? I thought Nikon is a global company. In today's economic crisis it is hard for me to believe that they will pass on the extra revenue.

NikonRumors has readers from all over the world and I cannot accept the fact that they will not have access to this excellent product (I ordered mine already). Few days ago I started an online petition to distribute the Creative Lighting System (hands-on guide) world wide. It is very important to note that I (we) do not want to hurt the company we love, so let's make sure we keep it civilized and stick only to the online petition. I will try to contact Nikon and see if I can get an official response. Few other sites/blogs have also raised their concern on that topic - I will contact them to join this petition.

Anyway, sorry for the long post - here is the petition (facebook sign-up also available). Please sign it and spread the word - the direct petition link is:

Update: Strobist has expressed similar concerns about the distribution of this video.
Update #2: Please don’t post any bittorrent links. I do consider bittorrent illegal (not to mention unethical) and I will not host any related links. Thanks for your understanding.
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  • As a person who spends a good part of my job dealing with creative rights. don’t blame Nikon for this. They obviously paid for US rights and they decided it was too expensive to do multiple languages (Canada has French) and multi-nation rights. If you want to complain, complain to the creators of this DVD for charging too much to make it affordable. Nikon can’t sell it in Canada without paying more, making the DVD more expensive for everyone.

    • Wouldn’t everyone make more money if they sell it world wide? Including the creators? How much does it cost to produce a DVD?
      If I record a CD, I would be interested to sell it in as many countries as possible – why would I restrict myself?
      It just does not make sense to me, but you could be right.

      • Not necessarily… a few other costs to consider:
        1) the video was done in english which means at a minimum they would need foreign language subtitles, so there is a cost involved on the production side (not to mention the costs of localizing and printing the packaging)
        2) it is quite likely that there would be import tariffs / shipping costs for exporting the video from the US to other countries around the world
        3) the video would also have to be produced to support PAL in Europe… it can certainly be done, but again, there is a cost involved.
        4) the forecast sales volume for shipping / selling the DVD in other countries may not be high enough to recover the above noted costs as well as additional costs paid to the talent for broader distribution rights.

        As you can see, there are many factors that play into the choice of distribution for a DVD (or CD for that matter), and I am sure that there are numerous additional factors that I have not mentioned.


        • CV

          1)Almost every educated person speaks and understands English good enough to do without subtitles.
          2)That’s something you can bill your customers for. Like it’s done on all things.
          3)Big deal. Five minutes

          Probably it will be available worldwide from the sellers on eBay (HK). Apparently they can put around anything in a envelop and ship it for €3 worldwide.

          • 1) That’s a pretty ignorant statement. Lets suspend disbelief a moment and assume its true (which any educated person in the United States or anywhere knows that its not). That still does not mean that Nikon could create one english version and not localize it for distribution in other countries (see comments below from our friend in Canada… also I am sure that in France there are probably laws that require that a French language version of the product be distributed.) The point that I am making is that in many countries, there are laws which Nikon would need to abide to for local distribution, particularly in regards to language. And when you localize something, there are costs involved that someone needs to pay for.
            2) You can pass any costs you like on to your customers. That doesn’t mean they will pay for it. A little Economics 101 for ya: as the cost of a product goes up, demand for it goes down, and I guarantee that the demand curve for this DVD is not inelastic.
            3) Five minutes or five days… there is still a cost involved that will increase the selling price of the product. Increased price = decreased demand.

            I am sure that there will be people all around the world buying / selling gray market copies of the DVD. Assuming that many of these will be legitimately purchased versions of the current DVD, that will actually be good for sales! So why does Nikon need to go to the expense of localizing the DVD for people in say, Sweden, if they are willing to buy the english version over the Internet anyway? Nikon, as a company with foreign subsidiaries in many countries, would have to incur many costs as noted above (and in my previous post) to sell the DVD around the world. If people buy it and then re-sell it on eBay, Nikon makes money by selling a product that they already have, and keeps costs down by not having to localize it.

            Sounds profitable to me.


            PS: The point of my earlier post was not to defend Nikon’s decision as to why they have not distributed the DVD globally, it was merely to point out additional costs involved in doing so, which may have led to their current decision not to distribute the DVD around the world.

  • Just a thought on why the DVD may be US only… it likely has to do with rights obtained from talent for the shoot… the models as well as Bob Krist and Joe McNally may have only been paid by Nikon for US distribution and the rights granted by the talent that made the video may not allow Nikon to distribute the video overseas at this time.

    Usage rights can be very complicated (and expensive) where talent is concerned… Nikon may be just waiting to see how well the DVD sells in their largest market (the US) before making additional investments for the right to globally distribute the product.

  • Canadian law also is fairly stringent about requiring bilingual (English and French) text on packaged goods; I don’t know how it applies to DVDs, but I can tell you that at the consumer-goods company where I work, product being sold in Canada requires completely different packaging than what we use for US product. So that would be another expense that would affect the business case for making it available.

    I’m not saying a petition isn’t a good idea, just that it’s going to need a LOT of signatures to show that there’s enough Canadian demand to overcome the extra costs that would be involved in producing a Canadian edition.

  • Viewtiful

    actually i went around to look for this DVD and even go online to Nikon Site to find but unfortunately its not available. Anyway one of the shopkeeper told me that he tried contacting Nikon and the rep told him that it is only available and for sale in USA. They are not bring in to Singapore!!!! BTW over at my side here…alotsa ppl are also looking for the DVD. i think the only way is to go online and buy….haiz…

    • I got several similar emails and this is what triggered this petition. I am sure Nikon is reading this blog – let’s see what will happen.

      • Viewtiful

        best of all, i tried placing an order online…it is not even available !!!!!!! i do wonder why they actually wanna release it if it is sooooooooo difficult getting 1 copy!
        Nikon!!!! Y?Y?Y?Y?Y?Y?Y?

  • Craig

    Just as an aside, you say in this post “I thought Nikon is a global company.” However, they aren’t in the sense you’re alluding to. Nikon is a Japanese company with many subsidiaries all over the world who import the products from Japan and distribute them within their respective country. That’s why in the US they’re called Nikon USA and in Canada they are Nikon Canada. I believe they do this as a means of dealing with all of the various trade laws all over the world.

    Up until just a couple of years ago there wasn’t a Nikon Australia but rather a wholly independent company who imported and distributed Nikon’s products for them.

    This is also why there are grey market products and why I can’t buy Nikkor lenses from b&h over the internet and expect Nikon to service them here in Canada.

    As for the video, I’ve been seeing more and more of this regional rights stuff lately and it’s quite annoying. I’m sure Nikon will eventually make this available in more countries soon, but in the mean time, we’ll just have to get it from the US and bring it up ourselves. 🙂

  • viewer

    you can download the video at the following link:

    Comment modified by admin: Please don’t post bittorrent links. As I said:
    “It is very important to note that I (we) do not want to hurt the company we love, so let’s make sure we keep it civilized and stick only to the online petition.”

    I do consider bittorrent illegal and I will not host any related links.
    Thanks for your understanding.

  • Pete

    I live in Sydney, Australia. I bought a copy of the DVD from Adorama, NY. Shipped in three days and it’s here, no need to rely on local distributors who cannot obtain it.

  • J

    it’s available here in singapore…i saw it in one of the photo book shops…didnt check the price though…

    • Viewtiful

      u sure?! where?

  • Laurence

    I’ve also posted a link to this petition on my blog.

  • Chris

    Unfortunately, a lot of big multinationals seem to take this odd The World = USA attitude.

    Sony, Apple, M$…. all the same. Europe usually seems to come bottom of the pile.

  • rhlpetrus

    Nikon has a very poor international attitude. If you buy a camera in one country the other’s official Nikon representative won’t recognize warranties. The local representative has a sort of market niche to put prices as they wish. Here in Brazil it’s ridiculous. A D40 costs more than 1,000USD and it’s not only taxes. Apple has introduced recently the whole line of products, which also have same taxes and the prices are only a fraction above the ones in other places. This last thing is just part of the overall Nion stance of markets outside Asia, US and a few other European countries.

  • I am in Mississauga, Ontario and I ordered the DVD from and just received it. But I had to pay $45 for shipping!

  • As a previous poster stated, if you want it buy it online.

    There are several reasons it might not be distributed in the the US, and they have nothing to do with conspiracy, just corporate bullshit.

    Nikon USA could almost be considered a separate company. They exist to distribute Nikon merch in the US and perform warranty work. They have a bunch of money and do some neat things on their own (NPS?). But they are not papa Nikon and they are not international. They are a subsidiary. I’m guessing (and I could be totally wrong) that this video is my by Nikon USA. As such it is a local product and it’s a) too much money to make in the standard 12 languages and b)they don’t want to step on toes in other markets by directly exporting it.

    This is why Nikon UK and others have at times had to pull camera manuals from their websites–because Nikon USA was selling them and pitched a fit when they found customers could get them for free online. It seems like papa Nikon eventually intervened and you can download pretty much anything these days, but for those that don’t remember, this did happen. Ever try and download an N80 manual from Nikon USA? Don’t bother, you still can’t.

    Check the Nikon Global site (parent company site) and you’ll see no mention of the CLS DVD. Probably does come from Nikon USA.

    My point is there’s no conspiracy and the petition is misguided. Nikon USA isn’t depriving anybody of anything. They’re trying to go above and beyond what a distributor can do. They’re probably strapped for cash at this point and you’re not going to convince them to motivated them to ship to other markets.

    Just appreciate what they’re offering, since it’s already above and beyond the call of duty.

    • I disagree: let’s just imagine that we collect 10,000 or even 100,000 signatures. Can you imagine the potential revenue stream for Nikon? They can make it available online for a fraction of the price. Low initial cost – high revenue potential. What is wrong with that model?

      • You can collect all the signatures you want, it still doesn’t address the issue of contractual obligations of Nikon USA to stay out of other markets.

        I know it sounds ridiculous, but each of this subsidiaries keeps to themselves, with the exception of the random “grey market” cameras. Nikon USA lets that stuff slide because they feel they punish the customers for they by denying warranty work.

        The parent company sets up these distributors to a) make things easier by having somebody on the ground in each market and b) there are very likely tax advantages to having pseudo-separate businesses set up in each market.

        Now Nikon USA probably moves a lot of merch compared to other markets and has extra money to play with for advertising/promotions and such. This is advertising for them.

        Why would Nikon USA advertise in other countries? Does Nikon UK advertise here? Nikon Japan? No, and the parent company would give them a strong backhand if they did. It goes against their business model.

        It sounds asinine, because it is. But that’s the mechanics of our global market. I agree that everyone everywhere should be able to buy whatever products they want to enrich their lives. But that can’t always happen.

        Instead it’ll be out for a while and someone will share it in entirety on the internet. Nikon may not sell a bunch, but it’s money well spent on publicity. It’s a win/win situation for Nikon USA. They don’t need to do more, so they likely won’t.

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