AfterDawn: Tech news

Congess legalizes DVD censorship

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 20 Apr 2005 20:14 User comments (7)

An attachment bill to the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act called the called the Family Movie Act will soon make it legal to alter a motion picture so long as all the sex, profanity, and violence have been edited out. The Family Entertainment and Copyright Act was approved on Tuesday by the house. The Senate has already passed its own version, and the President is expected to sign it. It's a big win for Hollywood as it sharpens penalties for pirates.
On AfterDawn forums, one frequently asked question is how to remove unwanted scenes from DVDs to make them fit for viewing by a younger audience. Some services are available that will do this but Hollywood takes a sceptical look at them. Two such examples are Family Flix and CleanFilms. These companies claim that they are not violating any copyright laws as they purchase a legal copy of a DVD each time they edit one. Hollywood studios are still upset with this action as the companies are essentially profiting from re-distributing their works.

The Director's Guild is very unhappy also as these companies tend to just leave the movies in any state that they want and Directors claim that it ruins what they tried to create in the movie. The directors agree that when someone buys a DVD they should be allowed to edit it for personal use if they want since they legally purchased a copy. However, they disagree with somebody making changes to the DVD and then going ahead and selling their edit, which is precisely what these companies are doing, they claim.

It seems that courts would favour the studios in this battle but companies like CleanPlay may not be so easy to beat. CleanPlay uses a DVD player and a downloadable filter template to cut out the scenes on playback. Therefore they are not actually altering the DVD and re-distributing it at all, just using a template. So in this case, whether or not that can be classed as Copyright Infringement is unknown.

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7 user comments

120.4.2005 20:58

Ok, if these companies buy a dvd, so they own it, then I don't see why they shouldn't be able to do whatever they want with it, so long as they are not just making copies and distributing them, that would obviously be piracy. But if they buy 1 copy, then edit and then resell, whats the big deal, they paid for it and they perform a 'service' and then ppl pay for the dvd and the 'service'. So what? People are getting sue-happy, or should I say these companies, sueing everyone, poor students, old women, children, dead people, other companies.

221.4.2005 6:13

So the Director's Guild qvetches that the "artistic integrity" of their flick is ruined by unauthorized editing. So why don't they release their own "family friendly" cut? Funny thing, though, they don't complain about the edited versions of their "masterpieces" that the airlines routinely show in-flight or that get shown on broadcast TV in the US. Wassup wit dat? Jayzus, they should be glad anybody is buying their crappy "product" at all!

321.4.2005 6:32

well if its ok to edit and them resell what would stop me from buying a dvd editing out that ugly girl or like one stupid sex shot or vulgar word--etc...and then selling it to people-----seems to me that this will open up a bigger world of piracy

421.4.2005 11:40

The "big deal" is that you can't take what someone else has created and change it a little and then make profit off it. Although, technically that's not what these compnaies are doing. They are selling devices that allow the changes to be made. This is very much a gray area. As for the director's guild not complaining when T.V. networks butcher their movies, that's because the networks PAID for them. I'm sure the director's guild would happily let these companies alter their movies if they gave them a cut of their profits. It's all about the money people. Whether you agree with Hollywood or not, don't make ignorant comments that have no logical reasoning.

521.4.2005 11:55

"[D]on't make ignorant comments that have no logical reasoning." Aw, you say the sweetest things! So, enlighten us, RunRiot95, how much DO the networks -or the airlines - pay to broadcast edited movies? Yes, it's about money. It's ALWAYS about money. I repeat my earlier statement: Why don't [the Director's Guild} release their own "family friendly" cut? That would end their whining and provide them an additional revenue stream.

621.4.2005 13:53

I love, if the wording of the above is the letter of the act, that you can only do this and not get prosecuted if you edit ALL the sex, violence, etc. from the picture. So, if you remove all the violence, but, you forgot to remove the sequence where someone slaps a hysterical person to calm them down, oh, no! You've left in a scene of violence! Go to Jail! Go directly to Jail! Do not call your attorney! Pay the MPAA $200,000!

721.4.2005 20:19

It's all about the money people. Whether you agree with Hollywood or not, don't make ignorant comments that have no logical reasoning. wow u are rude-----everythings about money but if the law does pass then i can do the same---edit out--and sell


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