Jul 11, 2006

Bad News for Movie Sanitizers

My grandchildren rarely turn on TV, except to see movies that are edited to remove profanity, sexual content, and other objectional materials. So they participate in programs where they pay a monthly fee to rent sanitized movies. The site Clean Edited Movies describes the different companies that offer sanitized DVDs.

The nasty movie industry includes the Directors Guild of America and eight studios (MGM, Time Warner, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Walt Disney, DreamWorks, Universal Studios, 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures). These organizations want no one to remove objectionable material so children (and adults) can watch a clean movie. Since 2002, they have spent tens of millions of dollars suing the companies that clean up movies for parents and their children. Yet all the movie sanitizer companies purchase an original DVD for every edited DVD they rent or sell.

Regardless, Senior U.S. District Court Judge Richard Matsch in Colorado has ruled (see news article) that he doesn't believe in choice. All movie clean-up companies were told they must immediately cease all production, sale, and rentals of edited videos. They have only five days to turn over all existing copies of the original and cleaned-up DVDs. What a loss for my grandchildren whose parents regularly use Clean Films to obtain sanitized movies. And they had just ordered the edited version of Pirates of the Carribean!

ClearPlay may be the only option. The 2005 Family Movie Act passed by Congress protects ClearPlay and other software-based filtering companies. The ClearPlay System is a DVD system sold by WalMart and other stores that lets you censor DVD movies yourself. The system provides customization controls to allow parents to block up to 14 levels of violence, sex, nudity and profanity. ClearPlay also produces the MaxPlay DVD system, where software filters remove objectionable content from the computer monitor.

Update: Clean Flicks has decided to appeal the decision of a federal court judge who has ruled that production of "sanitized" movies violates federal copyright law and hurts the Hollywood directors and studios who own the movie rights. See news.

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