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Cutting out the Naughty Bits Ruled Illegal

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the people-against-goodness-and-normalcy dept.

1329

An anonymous reader writes "Some of you may recall the lawsuit brought by several Hollywood directors against companies which edit movies for sex, language, and violence. The companies would trade consumers an off-the-shelf DVD for an edited one. Well, the CBC is reporting that Judge Richard P. Matsch has found that this practice violates U.S. copyright law, and 'decreed on Thursday in Denver, Colo., that sanitizing movies to delete content that may offend some people is an "illegitimate business." [...] The judge also praised the motives of the Hollywood studios and directors behind the suit, ordering the companies that provide the service to hand over their inventories.'''

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Wow, that is news ! (1, Flamebait)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 8 years ago | (#15688984)

At least some US-ians begin to talk sense... but how long before virtue league cancel this ruling for the sake of their obese corn fed childs ?

lol (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15688991)

you're my favorite troll. the broken english makes it 10x better. keep it up !!!

Lick my Horse Testicles (1)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689077)

I hereby command you to suck [goatse.ch] my balls.

Awesome (3, Interesting)

BlueCup (753410) | more than 8 years ago | (#15688988)

I didn't think there was any way that this would work out, but it did. I remember the first time I bought a cd from wal-mart, only to return it later because it was missing a couple of tracks.

Re:Awesome (4, Insightful)

mtrisk (770081) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689002)

What I don't understand is why Wal-Mart censors things anyway. If people don't like the content, why don't they just, you know, not buy it?

Re:Awesome (4, Insightful)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689092)

They just, you know, don't buy it. Thats exactly why Wal-mart and every other 'mart' purchases censored versions. Because they care about money and not much else.

Its a remarkable stupid situation where one company can't do something that other companies have done every day.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15689014)

Sorry, not the same thing. Wal-Mart simply convinces the labels that they want their CDs cut, and thats how they get them.

This was about some companies who released a DVD player that "censored" DVDs for you by identifying the DVD then downloading instructions to skip around the naugty bits. Content providers: 1, content users: 0. Expect lawsuits over "fast forward" to commence, since people might use the fast forward button to skip things they don't want to see but the provider expects them to.

Re:Awesome (1)

enosys (705759) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689073)

It seems that this is about companies who exchange original for censored media. I understand why creating a derivative work without permission would be copyright infringement. Even Creative Commons has "no derivative works" licenses. I don't see anything about the DVD player which automatically plays only certain parts of the original DVD. I don't think that could be made illegal.

Re:Awesome (2, Insightful)

werewolf1031 (869837) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689113)

This was about some companies who released a DVD player that "censored" DVDs for you by identifying the DVD then downloading instructions to skip around the naugty bits. Content providers: 1, content users: 0. Expect lawsuits over "fast forward" to commence...
Try reading the article first before posting such a nonsensical comment, Slashdot norms be damned. The article refered to companies that edit the movies, either in DVD or VHS format, before either renting them out or selling/trading them. This has nothing to do with crippled players.

Personally, I applaud the judge's ruling. I don't need these ultra-conservative idiots "cleaning" my movies before I watch 'em, just as I don't need a nanny to supervise everything I do. I'm 34 for chrissakes, let me live my life as I wish, stop trying to "protect" me from all the world's "evils".

As an aside, the really scary thing in all this is that it proves that there are people out there who would welcome Big Brother with open arms, so as to supervise every moment of our lives and keep all the "bad things" from view. Not even government officials and politicians or anyone else "in power", but just regular, everyday folks.

Re:Awesome (0, Flamebait)

voisine (153062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689130)

eh? are you confused... if you don't want them editing your movies, why in the world would you go and pay them to do it?!? I really hate vegetarian restaraunts. We need to get a judge to shut them down for not allowing me to eat meat! How dare they!

This doesn't effect places like Walmart (2, Insightful)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689116)

This doesn't effect places like Walmart.

The records they carry are sanitized by the copyright holders... the labels. This suit refers to those who edit content without holding a copyright.

For the most part, this suit effects religious nuts who have been white washing rentals.

Ok.. businesses are one thing, what about parents? (5, Interesting)

BalanceOfJudgement (962905) | more than 8 years ago | (#15688990)

What I'm interested to know is how this affects parents who use their DVR's to achieve the same purpose to sanitize movies for their children. Hollywood has expressed anger over THAT practice, too, which seems to me wholly unfair.

Re:Ok.. businesses are one thing, what about paren (1)

denim (225087) | more than 8 years ago | (#15688998)

They aren't selling the results. They also aren't promoting their practise to spread the results around. Seems totally different to me.

[OT] Your .sig (1)

iced_773 (857608) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689053)


Is this the right room for an argument?

I'm sorry, this is abuse. You want room 12A just along the corridor. Stupid git.

Apologies to spun (1352)

Re:Ok.. businesses are one thing, what about paren (5, Insightful)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15688999)

Parents don't use DVR's to produce commercially sold edited copies of content published by another party.

Re:Ok.. businesses are one thing, what about paren (5, Insightful)

dimfeld (247690) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689005)

I think the difference there is that you're not distributing your edited copy to the public.

Re:Ok.. businesses are one thing, what about paren (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15689008)

Parents aren't reselling their 'version' to anyone else. No different that a parent tearing out pages of a book they find unsuitable for their children, but not the same as someone else doing so and reselling that version as a 'clean' version of the title.

Selling damaged books illegal now? (2, Interesting)

Rayonic (462789) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689010)

From what I understand from this ruling, it would be illegal for me to buy a book, tear out every other page, and sell it to someone else. That's a pretty close analogy, seeing as both my actions and Cleanflicks' third-party video cutting are not authorized by the copyright holder.

Something tells me the MPAA has an ideal court case for extending their powers, here. I mean, 99% of the population would glance at this case and declare: "Cutting the naughty bits out of movies is bad!" or "Hur hur hur, take dat you stupid rednecks!"

Re:Selling damaged books illegal now? (1)

rcw-home (122017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689030)

From what I understand from this ruling, it would be illegal for me to buy a book, tear out every other page, and sell it to someone else.

How does copyright law make it illegal for you to do something that does not involve copying anything?

Re:Selling damaged books illegal now? (5, Informative)

nacturation (646836) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689042)

From what I understand from this ruling, it would be illegal for me to buy a book, tear out every other page, and sell it to someone else. That's a pretty close analogy, seeing as both my actions and Cleanflicks' third-party video cutting are not authorized by the copyright holder.

Not quite. You own the physical book. You can do what you want with it... including tearing out pages, burning it, or blacking out all instances of the word "the" if you choose. What you can't do is type the contents of the book into a word processor, remove certain sections of it, reprint the modified book, and then sell that bound inside the original cover. That's the difference.
 

Selling bad questions illegal now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15689075)

The reason we have all these bad "what ifs..." here is because most people don't even have rudimentary understanding* of intellectual property.

*Not corner cases, or gray areas but the basics.

Re:Selling damaged books illegal now? (3, Interesting)

Rayonic (462789) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689087)

Not quite. You own the physical book. You can do what you want with it... including tearing out pages, burning it, or blacking out all instances of the word "the" if you choose. What you can't do is type the contents of the book into a word processor, remove certain sections of it, reprint the modified book, and then sell that bound inside the original cover. That's the difference.

Except that the copying of content to a new disc isn't what this ruling is about. That part is legal. It's the editing of the content that was deemed illegal. The Director's Guild would have you believe that the "artist" has an intrinsic right to see that his work is only displayed in approved forms. Such a right does not exist in law. (Not in the United States, anyway.)

The only potentially illegal thing these companies could have done is misrepresented their edited versions as the original versions. There are quotes in the article that insinuate that, but I highly doubt the edited discs weren't clearly labeled.

Re:Selling damaged books illegal now? (3, Informative)

interiot (50685) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689132)

No, I don't think it means that authors can ensure that only their authorized versions are sold. I think it means that third parties can only distribute "patches", but they can't include the original material with their patch, nor can they directly distribute the post-patch version. And I think that's been the case in the US for a long, long time.

Re:Selling damaged books illegal now? (4, Insightful)

Dausha (546002) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689105)

"What you can't do is type the contents of the book into a word processor, remove certain sections of it, reprint the modified book, and then sell that bound inside the original cover. That's the difference."

This is not a comparative description. For each copy of the movie these companies sell, they buy one from Hollywood. Thus, if they sell 1984 copies of Gladiator with the naughty bits omitted, then they buy 1984 copies from the movie production company first. Thus, it can be said they are only reselling the copy of the book that they themselves purchased and from which they ripped out naughty pages.

The only difference between my doing this and them doing this is that they are conducting the same business on a larger scale.

What is more important to Hollywood is what our society deems appropriate. If these companies become more popular, then it could be argued in court that this success means the naughty parts of these movies violate public decency and can therefore face government stricture. These standards have eroded over my lifetime, but it need not be so.

Re:Selling damaged books illegal now? (1)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689043)

99%? You must be living in some alternate world in which the Rockstar "Hot Coffee" situation didn't create as much controversy as it did.

Re:Selling damaged books illegal now? (2, Informative)

Babbster (107076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689054)

While you might, in theory, be violating copyright law in your book example, nobody (besides the person to whom you sell the book) will know or care. Now, if you offered a service where you tore offensive pages out of books and then sold those books to stores who want only to stock "nice" things, someone would probably start caring.

It's like dodging copy protection (violating the DMCA) in order to make a backup copy of a game for yourself. As long as you don't start selling, or otherwise distributing, the backup nobody will ever know or care that you violated the DMCA.

This is why I only torture pets and then incinerate them in the privacy of my own basement...

Re:Selling damaged books illegal now? (1)

LihTox (754597) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689058)

Something tells me the MPAA has an ideal court case for extending their powers, here. I mean, 99% of the population would glance at this case and declare: "Cutting the naughty bits out of movies is bad!" or "Hur hur hur, take dat you stupid rednecks!"


Given the current political power of those "rednecks", I wonder if the opposite won't happen: a group of loud social conservatives voting to protect the rights of parents to protect their children from the naughty bits.

Re:Selling damaged books illegal now? (2, Informative)

RsG (809189) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689068)

It'd be more like you taking that book, photocopying it, with edits, and selling the altered version. And that is illegal - copying for your own use is fine, editing your own copy is fine, it's when your version is sold or distributed that you run into the law. Fair use essentially only extends as far as your own personal usage.

This particular case was something of a grey area (in part because they weren't costing the movie-makers money - ie they weren't like people selling bootleg DVDs), but it's the act of copying and redistribution that got them. Legally, they're in the same boat - slightly better off for not profiting at the MPAAs expense like the aforementioned bootleg DVD seller, but slightly worse off for having made alterations to their copied versions without the original author's consent.

Think about it. If the law says that the MPAA can sue filesharers, who aren't altering the movies they distribute, and aren't charging money for their unauthorized copies, then what is protecting the defendants here who are both altering and charging money?

Now, if you disagree with the idea that the MPAA should be able to sue over stuff like this, then that's another matter altogether. I don't like their lawyers and lawsuits either. But my point here is about what the law is, not what it should be.

Re:Ok.. businesses are one thing, what about paren (1)

zCyl (14362) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689019)

What I'm interested to know is how this affects parents who use their DVR's to achieve the same purpose to sanitize movies for their children. Hollywood has expressed anger over THAT practice, too, which seems to me wholly unfair.

This is also similar to the issue of fast-forwarding TV, if we equate nudity with advertising.

But I think the issue of parents using their own DVRs should be covered under fair use provisions of copyright law. After all, the parents are "using" the product for personal use. They are not selling it to their children.

Re:Ok.. businesses are one thing, what about paren (2, Informative)

aredubya74 (266988) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689020)

Time shifting for home use is perfectly legal under the Betamax ruling. Hollywood can legally go screw. This ruling is designed strictly to stop non-copyright holders from adjusting content and reselling it without the agreement of the copyright holders. If a studio wants to partner with a censoring company, or do the censoring of the films themselves (which I'm fairly certain they do), they may do so.

Why are you doing it anyway? (1)

spoco2 (322835) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689096)

As much as I'm all for people's rights to do so, I'm just wondering in what cases do you decide that "Hey, I like what this movie is saying to my kids... well all except for that bit of maiming half way through. If I could only cut that out."

What movies/shows are there which are good for kids other than one little bit? Surely it's an all or nothing approach. If it's coming down to a case of they say "Shit" at one stage or a boob is flashed, then come on, that's a bit ridiculous.

But where do they put them? (4, Funny)

zCyl (14362) | more than 8 years ago | (#15688993)

This reminds me of the classic question of what happens to all the donut holes...

Re:But where do they put them? (4, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689084)

I'm going to start a company which sells DVDs containing *only* the naughty bits from movies... it'll be called Holy Donut Entertainment. I mean, sometimes you just don't have the time to fast forward through the boring bits, right?
 

Re:But where do they put them? (2, Interesting)

Al_Lapalme (698542) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689097)

Timbits!

This was pushed hard in Utah (3, Funny)

doormat (63648) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689000)

To allow the uber-religious folk to watch movies with the bad parts cut out. Of course, this made Pulp Fiction about 30 seconds long, but oh well.

Regardless, soon we'll hear from (R)s (and some D's like Clinton and Lieberman) about activist judges and restoring something of something.

Utah version... (1)

WallaceAndGromit (910755) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689123)

MIA: "Fox, as in we're a bunch of foxy chicks. Force, as in we're a force to be reckoned with. Five, as in there's one... two... three... four... five of us. There was a blonde one, Sommerset O'Neal from that show "Baton Rouge", she was the leader. A Japanese one, a black one, a French one and a brunette one, me. We all had special skills. Sommerset had a photographic memory, the Japanese fox was a kung fu master, the black girl was a demolition expert, the French fox's speciality was sex^H^H^H bible study"

in which I support the prudes... (2, Interesting)

gargletheape (894880) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689001)

Wow. Much as I approve of this slap to the boobies-are-icky types, this is really another example of the ways copyright is going crazy. Why SHOULD a director have this so-called right to dictate that others view the precise film he made? I buy a book or film and read / watch what I choose. If I want to be able to automatically skip certain types of content, and someone is willing to sell me a means to do so, why is it anyone else's business? I mean, am I at least allowed to manually fast-forward through the naughty bits, or would that offend the MPAA's sensitivities as well? Why shouldn't someone auto fastforward for me if I'm willing?

in which I support the prudes...Bad aim. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15689034)

How about because you can't tell the difference between the consumer and a middleman. What you do is one thing. What a middleman does is something else. Got any other questions you want me to Google?

Re:in which I support the prudes...Bad aim. (1)

argoff (142580) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689122)


Well indeed, you have made a very compelling argument if they were being sued for dishonest or mis represented labeling.

Re:in which I support the prudes... (1)

Dlugar (124619) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689062)

Wow. Much as I approve of this slap to the boobies-are-icky types, this is really another example of the ways copyright is going crazy.
Exactly my thoughts. If somebody wants somebody else to censor a movie for them, why not let them? As long as there isn't any "lost sale" going on (e.g. most of these places either buy an original copy of the movie and splice up the original tape, or they buy an original copy and every edited copy they sell comes along with the original unedited copy as well) I don't see what beef the copyright holders can have with this.

Dlugar

Re:in which I support the prudes... (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689101)

My thoughts. If somebody wants to censor for them, why let them? As long as there is "lost sale" going on (e.g. these places buy the movie and splice tape, or every edited copy they sell along with the original edited copy well) I see what beef the copyright holders have with this.

[The above post edited by CleanPosts, a Utah corporation.]
 

Re:in which I support the prudes... (1)

jav27 (603992) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689076)

You have the right to do whatever you please with your copies of a movie, but you're not allowed to modify them and re-distribute/re-sell them. You were not granted a license for that. The reason behind this lawsuit is that if there is a market for sanitized films, the movie industry want it for themselves since they own the content already.

Re:in which I support the prudes... (1)

argoff (142580) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689106)

You have the right to do whatever you please with your copies of a movie, but you're not allowed to modify them and re-distribute/re-sell them. You were not granted a license for that. The reason behind this lawsuit is that if there is a market for sanitized films, the movie industry want it for themselves since they own the content already.

Well, if I have a right to modify my copy as I please, then I also have a right to hire someone to do it for me. Also I really don't care that "you're not allowed to modify them and re-distribute/re-sell them". We already know what the person pointing the gun at our face is telling us to do, the point is we should still act in defiance because they plan to pull the trigger anyhow.

Re:in which I support the prudes... (2, Informative)

toph42 (160730) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689086)

If that is what you want, then by all means, buy a ClearPlay DVD Player [clearplay.com] and play your standard DVDs in it. It will automatically skip "the dirty bits" and there's no nefarious copyright infringment going on.

Where's the harm? (1)

AriaStar (964558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689006)

The film companies are still getting their money. Someone who wants a "scrubbed" version still must buy one at retail. So how is this harming film companies? What right have they to say that someone can't take sex out of films so that children can see it, or so that people who would otherwise be offended can watch and enjoy? If someone buys a DVD, that person should have the right to do as he or she sees fit as long as it's not to make money at the espense of the film companies. True, it can be said that the scrubbing companies buy them and make money, but they aren't making copies for sale. They are selling the service of cleaning them, and for each one sold, the film companies are still getting the cost of a full sale.

Re:Where's the harm? (1, Insightful)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689056)

It's creating, marketing, and distributing a derivative work for commercial purposes without authorization, and completely absent any editorial or educational grounds.

The 'harm' is that, by law, it's the copyright owner's right to be the exclusive provider of such derivative works. Whether or not they actually choose to produce them is irrelevant to the question of whether or not they can prohibit others from doing so. Furthermore, in these cases the 'derivative' works may be remarkly similar to the original...

Do you think it should be legal for one movie studio to copy a currently-in-theatres blockbuster that cost some other studio $100M to produce and market, and then to sell a trivially edited version to theatres at a fraction of the normal price? If you give a blanket exemption to derivative works, this is really a logical consequence.

Re:Where's the harm? (2, Insightful)

AriaStar (964558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689115)

I still don't see where the studio is losing out. They're getting the full price for each editted version sold. Do you think that a family has the right to take a new DVD they paid full price for to a company to have them edit it so it's safe for their children is in the wrong? They are not advertising it and reselling it as their own version.

Do you think it should be legal for one movie studio to copy a currently-in-theatres blockbuster that cost some other studio $100M to produce and market, and then to sell a trivially edited version to theatres at a fraction of the normal price?

If the studio is getting the full fees per ticket that they'd get for an uneditted, and as long as the theater playing it is not claiming to be the original producer of the film, then yes. If anything, allowing this would increase their sales a bit because people who would otherwise bypass a film would be more inclined to see it. If it came at the cost of the studio losing money, such as a small theater somewhere playing it without paying the film company for playing it, then the film company would be losing money, and that is when it would be wrong.

Re:Where's the harm? (2, Insightful)

Brian_Ellenberger (308720) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689138)

Do you think it should be legal for one movie studio to copy a currently-in-theatres blockbuster that cost some other studio $100M to produce and market, and then to sell a trivially edited version to theatres at a fraction of the normal price?

That isn't what is going on here. Essentially, people are buying a DVD at FULL PRICE (from the company) and then paying this company to remove certain parts. The consumer received 2 copies--the original and the edited version.



It would be more to the effect of someone selling you a DVD and saying skip 00:11 to 00-15 and 1:10 to 1:15.

Re:Where's the harm? (2, Informative)

wesleywatson (984176) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689093)

(Some) directors don't care about extra revenue. They made a movie with an artistic vision they wanted to convey to the audience, and these companies re-editing it, taking out parts they don't like, and then selling it. It's fine if someone skips a scene while watching it at home, but you can't then mass produce your version and sell it. It's like when Steven Spielberg refused to allow an edited version of Saving Private Ryan to be broadcast on TV. Taking out the violence in his film completly killed the what he was trying to convey to people.

Re:Where's the harm? (1)

AriaStar (964558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689143)

There may be an "artistic vision," but is that not lost when someone at home fast-forwards past it at home when their children are still seeing it as it skips forward?

Re:Where's the harm? (3, Interesting)

FractalZone (950570) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689118)

I think I can see where the harm is. Think of Ayn Rand's novels, The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged. If those were edited for content by many of today's far-Left nitwits, they would not convey the same message. The problem is that they would (presumably) be sold as the same novels written by the same author, something I am sure she would disapprove of if she were still alive today.

A little editing can be a very dangerous thing. How hard would it be to edit a few sections out of Michael Moore's "Roger & Me" to make the unionized workers in Flint look like stupid, incompetent crybabies? That film is a wonderful piece of propaganda that would be horribly distorted if it was edited in a malicious manner.

Almost any non-trivial creative work contains/conveys some sort of message(s) that can easily be lost or damaged by clever (or simply bad) editing. I know I do not want a lot of things I write edited down and posted out of context as being written by me, even though that does happen all too often to people a lot more famous than I will ever be.

Re:Where's the harm? (1)

atomic-penguin (100835) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689127)

It's wrong because if Marcellus Wallace was supposed to say "I'm going to get medieval on your toe!", then Tarantino would have scripted it that way.

I didn't read the article, but I think the biggest culprits of this are family video stores trying to take a moral stance. Blockbuster orders edited for content movies that are "light on sex and violence" whenever possible. If you are unfortunate enough to rent one of these you wouldn't know the difference, because there is nothing on the package to tell you otherwise.

Shouldn't be an issue (4, Insightful)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689007)

Nothing disgusts me more then watching or reading something I know has been censored. People should be free to consume whatever media they want to, as long as it isn't hurting anybody no one should have the right to tell me what I can and can't see. Furthermore if I created a work of art I would find it supremely offensive to have some clensing squad go over it and take out the stuff that might offend people, chances are if it offends someone it was put there for that reason. This is with the possible exception of old works that have become offensive, but in that case they should be left as they are and taken in the context that they were created.

Re:Shouldn't be an issue (5, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689032)

People should be free to consume whatever media they want to, as long as it isn't hurting anybody no one should have the right to tell me what I can and can't see.
So you're against the ruling too?

Re:Shouldn't be an issue (1)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689102)

*shrug*

I could see people objecting to the occasional completely gratuituous content that appears to be thrown in for the sole purpose of showing some skin to randy viewers. If showing some ultra-photogenic stars getting hot and bothered at the drop of a hat means more profit for the investors in a movie, then it might be done even if it makes little sense from an artistic point of view -- just like any other formulaic bits.

Re:Shouldn't be an issue (1)

iknowcss (937215) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689124)

People should be free to consume whatever media they want to

Somehow I get the feeling that there are people out there who want to see these "works of art" but cover up the "nipples." Not watching the movie at all restricts them from being free to consume said media.

Wait I thought we were for... (1)

lordpud (525196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689009)

Creative uses of our own content. If I own the DVD can't I cut out the parts that I don't want? Or pay someone to do it for me? Oh wait, no it is censorship... Can't... pick... a... side...

Anyway, the directors let this happen on TV, but here they only get paid once for the movie, so there is no way they are going to be for it.

Next up... (2, Funny)

jon287 (977520) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689011)

Consumers sued for skipping scenes they don't like, violating copyright and "artistic integrety"...

Duh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15689013)

No matter how naughty someone's bits are, you can't just cut them off.

but how? (2, Insightful)

rritterson (588983) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689015)

I did RTFA, but it didn't mention how the practice violated copyright law. I understand the concerns of the people producing the original works. However:

1) The works weren't sold in stores, so the only people who had them were people who intentionally wanted them. It's not like selling a ripoff or counterfeit.

2) Doesn't this count as fair use. Does this mean that I can't take a song from a CD I bought and remove sections of it? Or it it because the companies were making a profit off of the derviation that it violated the law?

I don't buy the artistic integrity angle at all... (5, Insightful)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689017)

Something tells me that the director's "artistic vision" for example didn't include Bruce Willis saying ""Yippee-ki-yay Mister Falcon." in Die Hard, or "This is what happens whey you find a stranger in the Alps!" in the Big Lebowski: how is that different from what these companies were/are doing? Or is it simply a case of "censoring is ok, as long as the studio does it? The "These films carry our name and reflect our reputations. So we have great passion about protecting our work ... against unauthorized editing," line sounds a bit hypocritical, especially if the companies in question did put some sort of disclaimer (cleaned by cleanflix, whatever) at the movie beginning.

Re:I don't buy the artistic integrity angle at all (0)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689044)

The only difference I can think of is (possibly) that the censored versions shown on TV are approved by the owners of the film. That's not the argument they're using, though, if the article's telling the whole story.

Hollywood's sue-happy attitude (1)

merc (115854) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689022)

Instead of suing the world willy-nilly Hollywood should have seen this as a huge business opportunity. On the other side of this metaphorical coin, companies creating altered revisions of protected work should have worked with the owners' of said copyrighted work to fill this niche.

I imagine there might be a market for the content-conscientious consumer; although as some fark submitter pointed out a 16-minute edition of Pulp Fiction might not be very interesting.

In a perfect world (5, Funny)

bananahammock (595781) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689023)

Now wouldn't it be cool if you could apply this decision to Lucas for having Greedo shoot first - now that's offensive!

C'mon, State Your Real Goals (2, Interesting)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689028)

Quote from the judge:

"Their objective ... is to stop the infringement because of its irreparable injury to the creative artistic expression in the copyrighted movies," the judge wrote. "There is a public interest in providing such protection."


And from the DGA President:

"Audiences can now be assured that the films they buy or rent are the vision of the filmmakers who made them and not the arbitrary choices of a third-party editor."


These are supposed to show the reason behind the decision. Following the logic of the first, censorship of any sort of art would be copyright infringement. The second quote isn't even relevant. The company clearly states that the DVDs are edited; that's the whole point of someone trading an unedited one for their version!

If the company is doing something else that's infringing, I could understand the suit, but that's not what the suers are talking about.

not a black and white case (4, Insightful)

caseih (160668) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689031)

Reselling altered copyrighted material is an interesting proposition legally. On the other hand, if I buy a DVD or video, I should have to right to view it however I want, and I think I should also have to right to pay someone else to edit it to my liking if I want; it's my DVD after all. Despite everything (no matter which side you take), copyright holders do not have a right to force me to view it the way they want me to. The hard part is that in order to change the DVD, I have to copy it first, which is now a felony. And I think that's the part where these companies have gotten tripped up.

Taking this ruling farther, is it illegal if I publish an MPlayer EDL list for editing out naughty bits of a DVD? I believe Hollywood would want to make it so. On the other hand, when the DVD format was created, it was intended all along that the DVD player could apply edit codes to the video to alter the rating, supply alternate soundtracks, etc. Very little of this has ever been used in the production of DVDs, as Hollywood is the one making them in the first place.

Re:not a black and white case (2, Insightful)

RsG (809189) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689133)

Going just by classical copyright, and not the DMCA (which doesn't apply outside the US), what would stop you from copying DVDs and altering them for your own use? Likewise, what would stop a 3rd party programmer from giving you the tools to automatically remove the naughty bits? These things would appear to fall under fair use.

This ruling would have held up under the pre-DMCA laws. It isn't primarily about circumvention, it's about redistribution and alteration without consent. The problem here was that the company was distributing "safe" copies for profit. While I tend to be strongly against the **AAs, I'm also in favour of the artist/author/director/whoever having the right to control over their works.

That right, which seems to be the more rational side of copyright, was what was breached here. If I give you a program I've coded freely, to alter as you see fit on the condition that you likewise make your alterations free, and you then breach that condition, then I have a right to be pissed.

If the DMCA didn't apply, the examples you cite would offer conservative parents a perfectly legal workaround. Fair use and all that. Even with the DMCA, I doubt anyone would favour suing them for removing content from their own copies.

3 Cheers - Fascist Aren't In Total Control (1)

cannuck (859025) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689035)

It always good to hear that the Fascists/"Taliban" aren't in total control in the USA - yet. Will the Fascists/"Taliban" appeal? We'll see. I wonder what the impact will be on State/Government censorship? In Ontario, Canada - until recently, all films were censored by a government appointed censorship board. Naturally they had their scissors busy chopping anything, everything - not unusual that 10 minutes had been chopped from a film. Who chaired the above censorship board? The chair of the board just happened to be the chair of the Candian Catholic Womens League.! Ha Ha Ha

The smart thing to do... (4, Insightful)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689038)

The smart thing to do is for the EFF and other orgs to make a temp alliance with the 'pro-family' groups to have copyright laws rewritten.

This is a chance to get more people involved in rolling back the increased rights granted to copyright holders these past few years.

Re:The smart thing to do... (1)

agentcdog (885108) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689069)

Mod parent up... we've seen what happens when we ingore others' rights because we don't like them.

Another defeat for personal freedoms (5, Insightful)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689041)

Result in a nutshell: If I own a DVD, I cannot pay someone to make a copy of that movie for me sans parts I might find offensive. It's not censorship, because *I'm the one asking him to do it for me*. But in yet another defeat for personal freedom (and another win for the moneyed interests), the courts have found that this is a violation of copyright law.

Thank Goodness! (1)

welshsocialist (542986) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689047)

I am, for one, glad this 'clean films' movement has been knocked out. I think that anytime these self appointed censors alters a person's art to sheld someone's sensitivities, they slap the face of those who created the art in question and insult the intelligence of those who do not mind what is being objected to. Recently, I brought James Blunt's debut album, Back to Bedlam. Opinion about the quality of the work aside, I noticed there was the dirty version and the clean version. After comparing both versions in terms of artwork and music, I found that there were only three words of difference in three different songs between the two versions of the same album. This left me to wonder why a clean version was produced in the first place; if they didn't want to hear the four-letter words, they should have left it alone. In short, when will we grow a thick skin and not pander to the 'family-friendly' minority?

Re:Thank Goodness! (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689104)

In short, when will we grow a thick skin and not pander to the 'family-friendly' minority?

So you're saying I shouldn't be able to buy a 'clean' copy if I want to?

Re:Thank Goodness! (1)

voisine (153062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689114)

So you feel that since you disagree with this movement that outlawing it is an appropriate response. No one was forcing you to have your dvds cleaned. What right do you or anyone else have to force them to watch offensive content in order to view a movie they own?

An Alternative (4, Insightful)

OYAHHH (322809) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689048)

At,

Least in the USA we are "relatively" free to innovate.

What somebody needs to do is to devise a DVD player that can read a file delineating where the objectionable parts are on the particular DVD. Once the bad parts are known to the player the player simply skips them.

People who want to view the unedited version are happy and those that don't desire to see whatever content can be happy as well.

The original content on the original DVD is not altered in any manner. Copyright is protected.

Religious groups could then produce the "files" to correspond to their own needs and distribute these files via the Internet. The files are uploaded to the special DVD player...

It's basically the same as having Adblock installed in Firefox. You simply delineate what you don't want to see and Firefox delivers what you do want to see. No one is sueing Firefox for eliminating advertisements.

Should be the same for objectionable DVD content.

Re:An Alternative (5, Informative)

masterzora (871343) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689140)

Sounds familiar...

Oh, yeah, http://www.clearplay.com/ [clearplay.com]

In other News... (5, Funny)

andphi (899406) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689052)

The Court also handed down several companion rulings:


First, that closing one's eyes or looking away during commercials, previews, gratuitous violence, sex, or nudity is an abridgement of copyright as it results in a derivative work without the consent of the copyright holders.


Secondly, that because going to the bathroom during the boring parts (and the court in no way implies that there are boring parts in Hollywood movies) also results in the creation of a derivative work, it is also forbidden by law.


Thirdly, that because some persons have been known to talk over or about the soundtrack, dialog, or events of movies, thus creating an unauthorized derivative combination of commentary and the original cinematic release in violation of copyright, movies may only be watched by persons without mouths.

Interesting Hypocrisy (2, Interesting)

GrpA (691294) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689055)

It's not OK to remove violence or obscenities from home movies, but airlines are free to remove anything they find commercially offensive from in-flight movies.

GrpA

Re:Interesting Hypocrisy (1)

Trotsky820 (543230) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689078)

Actually, those edits are done by the studios, and with the consent of the appropriate rights holders, so it is a very different situation.

Re:Interesting Hypocrisy (4, Informative)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689100)

The rights to the movie belong to the guy (company) that made it. If the airlines pay for a license to show an edited version then that is cool. The company in question here did NOT have permission to distributed edited versions of the movies.

To be clear... (4, Insightful)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689057)

To be clear, this is NOT a ruling against censorship in any way. This is a ruling that one cannot use the motives of private censorship to in any way go against copyright laws. They'll have to sell their 'services' to the (mostly) corporate owners of the rights to works, rather than directly to customers or retailers.

A fairly appropriate ruling, in the context. But this does mean that when a more automatic method of censorship comes around, then new forms of censorship shouldn't face these same legal barriers. They just have to be blind to which naughty bits and sounds they're covering up, fresh each time, so they're not producing a 'derrivative work' in a saleable form.

Ryan Fenton

Clearplay (1)

ThePopeLayton (868042) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689059)

I wonder what this ruling will do for clear play? I guess having the DVD player skip over scenes of mute the volume doesn't techincally count as altering the media. Anybody have any ideas?

Where's the money ? (1)

Quiberon (633716) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689060)

If you want to create and sell a derivative work (i.e. an edited versiion), you are supposed to come to a (financial) agreement with the copyright holder first.

btw, it's 'Infringe', not 'Violate'. The damage can be easily undone with an appropriate agreement, and we can transform this from an illegitimate business to one with a perfectly respectable mother-and-father with a little money changing hands.

Actually Makes Sense (2, Insightful)

Trotsky820 (543230) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689065)

I've got to say I'm pretty surprised by the number of voices saying here that there is a problem with this decision. This sounds like a perfectly sound interpretation of the law to me. The bowdlerizing companies are taking a copyrighted work, altering it in small ways, and then selling or renting the new work in a commercial enterprise. Even if the studios are paid, that does not mean that the buyer has a right to change and re-distribute the work, if the original owner does not permit that. Copyright gives the owner substantial control over his or her works. In the same way, the GPL allows me to copy and change source code, but does not allow me to do so without restriction, because the owner of the copyrights have assigned a license to that effect.

Does this mean (1)

also-rr (980579) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689066)

...that flights will be 1% less awful with uncut films, or will we just be reduced to watching films like the Pink Panther because all the others are deemed too rude?

Naughty Bits (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15689071)

Any now for your viewing pleasure. Some naughty bits.

B*m
T*ts
Kn*ckers
Semprini

Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15689079)

Fuck any censorship or any piece of shit that wants to limit the information that we have access to. Fuck them to the 9th gate of hell. Cocksuckers.

What about DCMA violations? (1)

dirkus_1 (696048) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689081)

I just had one thought. Don't these editing companies have to bypass the encryption of the DVD to extract the content prior to them cutting out the "nasty" parts? Doesn't that bring them into violation of the DCMA? Do they encrypt the edited version when they burn their DVD? If not, haven't they now released a non-protected version of the film?

Sounds like pirates without all the looting, womanizing and drinking.

Anyone for tea and scones? I guess in Utah it would be a root beer and a donut.

So when can they sue free tv (1)

Heir Of The Mess (939658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689088)

Cause I can't stand it when free tv cuts something so that they can fit in more advertisements. And in the case of free tv the consumer doesn't want the amount of entertainment to be trimmed down in favor of advertising material.

Legalized by the Family Movie Act of 2005 (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689091)

This is Canada folks - in the US similar lawsuits were made moot by: the Family Movie Act of 2005 as part of S.167 [loc.gov] which was passed with provisions that explicitly exempt editing for content. Here's the summary from Thomas:

Title II: Exemption from Infringement for Skipping Audio and Video Content In Motion Pictures - Family Movie Act of 2005 - (Sec. 202) Creates an exemption from copyright infringement for: (1) the making imperceptible, by or at the direction of a private household, of limited portions of audio or video content of a motion picture during a performance in or transmitted to that household for private home viewing from an authorized copy of the motion picture; or (2) the creation or provision of technology that enables such editing, is designed and marketed for such use, creates no fixed copy of the altered version, and makes no changes, deletions or additions to commercial advertisements or promotional announcements that would otherwise be performed or displayed.

Amends the Trademark Act of 1946 to protect from liability for trademark infringement: (1) persons who engage in the above-referenced conduct; and (2) manufacturers of technology that enables such editing if notice is provided that the performance of the movie is altered from the director's or copyright holder's intended performance.

Additionally, Canada's copyright law draws from "contintental" (aka French) law much more than American copyright law does. The French have the concept of "Moral Rights" (which are distinct from 'property rights' and generally can not be assigned) - one of the moral rights of the author is the "right to the respect of the work" (droit au respect de l'intégrité de l'oeuvre) which boils down to the author being able to prevent any changes to the work that he believes conflict with his original artistic vision.

My guess is that the judge in Canada made his ruling based primarily on that particular moral right.

FWIW, I am going to have agree with the right-wing moralists here - this ruling is censorship plain and simple. This judgement has the government indirectly dictating how the films must be viewed. It reduces the artistic works available to the public. If hollywood had a brain, they would be making their own versions (like they do for in-flight movies) for the terminally fragile of heart because there is obviously a market for that kind of product.

Interesting point, but wrong in one major respect (1)

Trotsky820 (543230) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689120)

Your comments on the Family Movie act are interesting, but you missed a major point. This was a US court in Denver making the decision, the submitter just referenced a CBC story on it.

Still a market for VHS then... (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689099)

As far as I can tell, this ruling would not apply to physically editing a tape. The problem (for the censor service) is that you can't cut-n-paste a DVD, but you CAN cut-n-splice a tape. There would not be a problem with that - no copy of the tape has been made, only fair use of the owned media.

Parents censoring media.. (1)

paulmer2003 (922657) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689108)

As a child, my parents didnt disalow me from watching R rated films, filter my internet and such. And yet, some how, im just as normal and sane as next person (and I never shot up my school or anything!). I fail to understand why parents want to censor what their children want to see....

Before the kneejerk reaction from the Slashdotters (5, Insightful)

Brian_Ellenberger (308720) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689110)

Don't approve of this action just because you think it only hurts a bunch of "right-wing Christian zealots". Remember fair use! There was a one-to-one copy sold with each of these DVDs---the original and the edited. The filmmakers did not lose one dime, and in fact made money with each copy sold.

So if we are to argue that, if you bought something you have the legal right to do whatever you want to it (Fast Forward through commercials, play on a Linux box, rip to a hard drive), then you cannot allow Hollywood to start acquiring new rights for their so-called "artistic vision". Otherwise, you will find yourself unable to fast forward through scenes (or commercials) because that would violate the "artistic vision" of Hollywood.

Remember folks---it is all about control. Hollywood wants all the control. We cannot surrender even the smallest bit of it, because as soon as we do it establishes legal precedence.

And as for their pure "artistic vision", they regularly violate it when they make full-screen movies, TV versions, and rereleases of the same movie every 10 years.

copyright holder's vs. viewer's right (1)

tlacuache (768218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689125)

Although I know it's not exactly the same thing, it brings up some interesting questions about the rights of the creator of the work vs. the right of the viewer of the work.

For example, I have a TV Guardian [tvguardian.com] , which is basically a little box that sits in front of your TV and mutes the volume when profanity comes on, displaying the closed caption with a tamed-down version of the word. I, personally, don't like to hear profanity (nor do I like my young daughter to hear it), so I love it. Is this also "illegal" along the same lines?

What about me using something like Adblock or Greasemonkey to change or filter content I'd rather not see? I've got a Greasemonkey script that replaces most profanity in web pages with *'s. Am I violating the rights of the author of the web page?

While IANAL and I understand there are laws in place to keep people from changing and reselling copyrighted work, I do see where these "rednecks," as another post called them, are coming from. Personally, I think it's more than just "rednecks" who are interested in something like that, but to each his own.

New allies for copyright reform! (2, Interesting)

peacefinder (469349) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689126)

This actually might be good news over the next few years. A large and key bloc of Republican voters (the Christian right) is going to be very, very annoyed about this ruling. If they start supporting copyright reform in a big way because of this, substantial changes might be possible for once.

Not ClearPlay (2, Interesting)

ottffssent (18387) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689134)

I was curious to see if TFA mentioned ClearPlay, a company we heard about on /. a while ago that markets custom DVD players that read not only the DVD but also a database that categorizes the content on popular movies, allowing you to program the player to skip scenes of sex or violence or whatever bothers you. The company seems to still be in business, but apparently they're not popular enough to keep these custom DVDs out of the market. The effect is the same, but without the copyright concerns.

I seem to recall the /. comments at the time being fairly negative, but to me it seemed like a pretty good idea. I don't really like censorship in any form, but it's hard to argue with something as voluntary as buying a whole separate DVD player to keep your kids from seeing the naughty bits, if that's what gets your goat.

Airplane edits? (1)

emarkp (67813) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689136)

And I wonder if it will be considered illegal for airlines or TV broadcasters to edit movies to show on flights?

That's really what customers of these services want anyway--the same cuts shown on TV or on airlines.

such altruistic artists, those studios.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15689139)

and the producers also...

i can just see them lighting fat cigars with hundred dollar bills, wide obscene grins on their chubby faces as they expound upon the protection of artistic visions...

Monty, say it isn't so! (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 8 years ago | (#15689141)

So is an original Monty Python DVD legal or not?
All the naughty bits were removed.
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