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Directors Counter-Sue Movie Bowdlerizing Company 889

Posted by michael
from the see-you-one-lawsuit-and-raise-you-two dept.
crazyhorse44 writes "The lesser of two evils? 'The Directors Guild of America is suing more than a dozen companies that delete scenes depicting violence, sex and profanity from Hollywood films, saying the process violates federal copyright law. The lawsuit, filed Friday in Denver, was a response to a suit filed last month by Clean Flicks of Colorado, which is part of the Utah-based rental chain Clean Flicks. The company had asked a judge to rule its practice legal, despite protests from several well-known directors, including Robert Redford and Steven Spielberg. Clean Flicks argues it doesn't violate copyright law because it purchases a new copy each time it edits a film and because customers are technically owners of the videos through a cooperative arrangement. The edited tapes also carry a disclaimer that the film was edited for content, the company says.' Whose side to take? The DGA is defending the desecration of many of our favorite films, while Clean Flicks is strongly advocating for the copyright rights of the consumer to edit and/or alter the media that they purchase. At the extreme you have folks who want to eliminate all traces of sex and violence from the popular media against the movie industry who wants to eliminate all property rights of the consumer. Whose side would you take? Links at Salon, USA Today and FindLAW." We've had previous stories here and here.
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Directors Counter-Sue Movie Bowdlerizing Company

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  • by JavaTHut (9877) on Monday September 23, 2002 @05:21AM (#4310274) Homepage
    >Unfortunately, these days I wouldn't be surprised if an infants first words were "sex" instead of "mama" or "papa".

    Actually, an infant's first word has nothing to do with what words they hear and what their surrounded by. The reason "mama" and "papa" are the first words an infant learns, across a myriad of different languages, is because 'm' 'p' 'b' are the three easiest sounds to make -- it's simply the infant learning motor cordination of their lips and closing them while exhaling; and then, naturally, 'a' is the default vowel you get ("now say aaaaaaah") when you connect your consonants together.
    It's the parents who then narcissistically assign importance to the utterances; the child gets all this attension whenever they make that utterance, and they learn the concept of getting attension by forming "words"

    For a child to have "sex" be their first word, they'd have to learn to control their lips and the front of their tounge to channel air such that it makes a pneumantic hiss, then propell the back of their tounge up to cut off airflow, and then return it to it's origional position immediately -- without relaxing with a vowel first.
  • Re:Anime fansubs? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Saxerman (253676) on Monday September 23, 2002 @06:00AM (#4310352) Homepage
    As a member of a group that creates and releases fansubs I can tell you that we exist inside a very murky area of the law. We only distribute subs of anime titles that have not yet or will not be released in the US. Once an anime title is released in the US we stop distributing the work. This is for a copy of reasons. The primary reason is that before a title is released over here the copyright holder is in Japan and therefore does not have a US copyright on their work. Once the copyright holder sells the rights to allow some other entity (including themselves) to distribute in the US they now have a duly authorized US copyright holder. Its a pain in the butt for a Japanese copyright holder to attack a bunch of fanboys in the States. Its business as usual for a US company to get us.

    On top of this we have a fairly good relationship with the major anime distributors in the US. Primarily because we DO stop distributing titles once they're released. Before release we're giving them free advertising. After release we're cutting into their profits.

    So we do NOT have the right to distribute fansubs, but we're tolerated as long as we play fair. This status will likely change if Anime continues to become more popular and more money is involved.

  • by Dj (224) on Monday September 23, 2002 @06:09AM (#4310368) Homepage
    The difference is that they bought the rights sufficent to allow them to make those changes.

  • by Orclover (228413) on Monday September 23, 2002 @07:28AM (#4310589)
    I actually side with Clean Flicks on this one, and only for one reason, they arent hiding what they are doing whatsoever. Blockbuster does the same thing almost exactly, however they cover up the fact. You go to rent a movie at blockbuster and you get the "blockbuster rendition" with rape/bloody gore removed or edited out. Do you hear the movie industry bitching about blockbuster? nope. I bitch about it though, the bitches dont tell you that they are censoring thier shit. Place like "cleanflicks" with warning lables its obvious what they are doing, i sure as hell wouldnt rent a movie there, but i support thier right to edit "thier bought item" and rent changed version to informed user base. Frickin blockbuster can burn.
  • by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Monday September 23, 2002 @09:02AM (#4311088)

    Mystery Science Theater 3000 (and, presumably, similar "reworkings" of films such as What's Up, Tiger Lily and Steve Oedekerk's horrid Kung Pow) exist because the producers of them got permission from and/or paid a license fee to the original copyright owners.

    I have no objection to people creating their own derivative works based on movies they have bought. But I don't see how a for-profit company can justify doing that without the permission of the original copyright holders. The "we don't actually OWN the movies, we just perform the service of editing them" defense seems pretty flimsy to me and I wouldn't expect it to hold up in court.
  • by siskbc (598067) on Monday September 23, 2002 @10:10AM (#4311683) Homepage
    Dunno if you've been to college at all or recently, but any student I knew would much rather buy a used textbook - not only because they were cheaper, but because if the prior owner was at all intelligent, then it really reduced your workload by the book being well-highlighted. New books almost never sell until the used ones sell out. So the edited version has more value.

    In the movie example, how would clean flicks stay in business if they decreased the value of the movie? They buy a movie at standard retail and sell it for more. And obviously they have customers. That's the definition of value-added.

    A car is not a copyrighted work. Your analogy is poor and misleading.

    A car may not be copyrighted, but it's fairly irrelevant, because there's no part in copyright law that prevents resale (Used record stores still exist). There's also no part that says "upon resale, work must remain intact." So, since copyright law makes no guarantee of creative integrity, the car sees the same protection under law: ie, NONE.

    So I'd say the guy's analogy looks pretty good.
  • by GoofyBoy (44399) on Monday September 23, 2002 @10:12AM (#4311701) Journal
    A car is not a copyrighted work. Your analogy is poor and misleading.

    Actually a car is. Its standard to do this with any sort of design which alot of work has been put into, like a design for a building.
    If it wasn't, you can be sure there would be tonnes of fake, cheap, imported Corvettes running around.

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