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Self-censoring DVD players from RCA soon available

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 11 Apr 2004 3:28 User comments (14)

Self-censoring DVD players from RCA soon available RCA has announced that it will start shipping DVD players in the United States that will automatically censor offensive language, nudity, violence and other "offensive" content from DVDs that are played with the device. Retail giants Wal-Mart and Kmart will sell the players for $79.
Technology is based on content censoring technology developed by an American company called Clearplay. They've developed a database that contains time/frame database of over 500 movies and flags that mark the offensive material for each of the DVD in the database. The player will recognize the movie and automatically skip or "bleep" over offensive material when played. It is not known whether the devices are capable of updating their movie databases via Net connection or by other means in order to censor the new movies as well.

Clearplay -- as well as several other censoring technology companies -- has been sued by major Hollywood studios and directors. Directors say that such methods where a device alters a movie that they've created, without director's permission, violates against their intellectual property rights and destroys the artistic vision the director has created to the movie. It is obviously time to ask whether it would make sense not to purchase movies that have rating other than G (general audiences) in the first place if the buyer is not prepared to see anything other than "G" rated material.

Source: BBC

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14 user comments

111.4.2004 8:51

So much for parental discression.

211.4.2004 9:24

would it not be easier for the DVD makers to simply add a menu feature in the movie that completly edits out the language and nudity scenes.

311.4.2004 9:44

Directors say that such methods where a device alters a movie that they've created, without director's permission, violates against their intellectual property rights and destroys the artistic vision the director has created to the movie.
Once you've paid for it, you can watch it however the hell you want. This "artistic vision" crap is the same lame excuse used by some bands who force you to download their entire album because they feel singles destroy the integrity of the album. I guess they realize they can't make an entire album worth listening to. Before we know it we'll have "integrity enforcers" sitting in our living rooms making sure we don't do anything "wrong" while trying to enjoy our media.

411.4.2004 12:05

This is more of the same - the attitude by the movie MegaBusiness that the work belongs to then - even after it is purchased by others. That's why they object to some video rental stores (i.e. Cleanflicks) editing out the naughty parts of movies they rent - even though they rent to customers who don't want see the naughty parts. That's why they have cardiac episodes at the thought of people backing up their DVDs and CDs. I'm surprised that book publishers don't come into your house and attempt to punish us severely if we make marks in their books. A pox on all of them!

511.4.2004 15:22

this is only usefull if you have small children- which leads me to this question- if you have small children why dont you just play them kids movies?

611.4.2004 17:10

perfect for every parents who does not want there kids to watch bad movies, and don't want to spend the time to actually see what they are really watching. why should you bother censoring what ur kids can watch when you can have the v-chip or net granny do it for you? you should just put ur kids in a bubble so the mean people can't show them how life really is!!!

711.4.2004 22:14

** I agree that it is ridiculous for movie makers to think that they can control every single solitary aspect of the films they produce, down to and including the specification of how an individual watches said movie in the privacy of their own home. They seem to be saying, "Unless you expose yourself to the incredible and offensive [here insert LANGUAGE, VIOLENCE, etc.] in our movie, you're violating artistic freedom, copyrights, and other stuff we had our lawyers write up." ** What nonsense! Once a DVD is purchased, movie makers have nothing whatever to say about what parts of the film an individual does or does not watch in his private lair, just as recording companies cannot force someone to listen to certain songs he or she doesn't like on a certain CD. ** In any event, the commercial DVDs aren't actually altered at all by the new players; in fact it's impossible to do that as commercial discs are permanent and non-writeable. All the new censoring players do is simply skip over objectionable language, questionable scenes, etc. I don't know if these players actually give you a set-up choice as to whether or not you can have the filters enabled; in an attempt to be fair, they probably should have this option, giving the user a choice. ** While I'm at it, here's an interesting thing that happened to me once that I think makes a definite point: I'd read a certain novel. The story was excellent and really satisfying, full of suspense, action, and a killer climax. ** What I hadn't realized at the time was that what I'd read was a cleaned-up version. Some time later, I ran across a "full" version (I.E., unabridged) version of the same story. I bought it, took it home, started in on it. ** I was totally unprepared for what I found. The story as originally published was absolutely incredible in terms of objectionable language. I'd seen plenty of stories which were virtual pepper mills of graphic language... but *this* one was something new, virtually in a class by itself. It was exactly the same story as the other; the unabridged version simply had an overload of totally unnecessary language which had been left out of, or modified in, the first version I'd read. ** I tried to work my way through it but, after reading to a certain point I gave up, threw the book out in the garage. As far as I know it's still out there. That experience so turned me off that it was a long time before I even read the "clean" version of it again. ** The message is clear: Either a story, or a movie, is good on its own merits -- or it's not. Offensive language and unnecessary behavior does not in any way make it better. If a certain food tastes good, adding a strong, harsh spice does not in any way improve it; in fact, in my experience it usually takes away from it. If the usage of "harsh spice" is limited, though it doesn't improve anything, you can sort of ignore it and concentrate on the main "taste" of the food. ** If however you have a food that's basically no good to start with, adding huge amounts of "harsh spice" most certainly does not in any way make it better. In the same way, a load of graphic language in what is basically a poor movie to start with won't help it. And if it's basically a good movie, it's not improved by sprinkling some offensive language into it -- but you can usually get around it.

812.4.2004 1:22


912.4.2004 14:28

Why don't the Hollywood suits get uptight when their movies are edited for TV broadcast/mass advertisement? Clearplay doesn't seem to alter the content of the medium at all, or copy it. If it's all about artistic vision, then we need to end the picture/display options on TV's and mixing abilities on amplifiers or receivers. Just can play what's on the disk/tape, no futzing with the picture sound, please. The producer/director's must have had a vision about how much bass is in the mix. For those who talk about showing kids kid's movies, there is a time when kids outgrow Barney, and want to watch more adult stuff. There are plenty of movies (Back to the Future comes to mind) wherein a teenage movie was dressed up to be more adult with unnecessary language (the car was cold, damn cold per Doc, a couple of Sons of Bitches in there too). So there may be some instances where concerned parents would like to edit such content from what their kids see and hear. It's their prerogative I guess. Clearplay has the right to sell any product that doesn't infringe the copyright. It's between Clearplay, the parents, and the kids. At some point I'd advise the parents to lighten up along the way. We treat kids like two year olds until they're 20. It doesn't do the parents or the kids any good. If I hear one more case of a late twenty-something returning home to mom and dad, I'm going to take a hostage.

1012.4.2004 14:40

oh gee i cant raise the brightness on the film cause the directors "vision" was to have it dark.

1113.4.2004 5:14

Well, this time around there seem to be more in favor of Clearplay's idea than the first time around. (Click on the "has been sued by major Hollywood studios and directors" to see earlier article) Quote from zombieman: "would it not be easier for the DVD makers to simply add a menu feature in the movie that completly edits out the language and nudity scenes. " Yes, it seems so. And I would even be willing to pay a little more to have that option. There have been many movies I have seen that I would like to share with my kids except for the language or the one scene that goes farther than it needed to. Yes, a lot of young kids use a LOT of foul language on the street, but is this something we want to ENCOURAGE?!! As I said in my post on the original article: "Yes, real life has bad stuff in it, but you don't have to wallow in that. Is there no higher level to aspire to? " (see that post for more that I would have posted here but didn't want to take up more space with duplicate info) jantiff01 and toolkien have some good points in their posts.

1213.4.2004 11:27

This is in response to all the snide comments about how parents should "use discretion" or "only allow kid's movies" or "monitor what their kids watch." As a parent of elementary and middle school age children, I do not allow my children to just sit and watch anything without my supervision. The problem is ALMOST NOTHING these days is without sexually explicit material and/or offensive, vulgar language. I, too, have a life to live (cooking, cleaning, etc) so although I do like to spend some time watching TV and/or movies with my children, I certainly do not want to pre-view everything (thus DOUBLING OR TRIPLING MY TV time, sometimes with very adult-unfriendly content). Unfortunately, you cannot trust regular TV and even some G-rated movies(often boring!) to eliminate objectionable content anymore, since Hollywood feels the need to put this in EVERYTHING!!! So wouldn't it be nice to sit down with your kids to watch movies and be able to sit through it the first time, uninterrupted, without having a hand on the remote to stop offensive language or "sexy" scenes after they've already started? I really like the idea of not even having to alert the children that something offensive is even on the film. In fact, I don't really want to know either. I just want to watch a movie for the STORY, and not have to watch or listen to unnecessary vulgarity. Most of the PG and PG-13 movies made today would be GREAT MOVIES FOR KIDS (and everyone else) without the obligatory sexual content and bad language. Since no one is making movies any other way these days, do we really have a choice in the marketplace? Not if we like to watch movies!

1313.4.2004 11:39

i dont see an issue here- if i were a parent id just read the back, it tells you if it contains language, nudity or sex, it even says if there are "scary" scenes in the movie, all movies sense the mid 90s say that on the back right next to the letter rating, it gives a pretty good descripton, if your still unsure look on yahoo movies, they have a "movie mom's review" for every movie.

1415.4.2004 5:49

cleartype arnt actually modifing the film so i dnt see their point their. also hu wants to miss the nudity and swearin neway?!?! thats the best part !!! lol.

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