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Directors Counter-Sue Movie Bowdlerizing Company

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the see-you-one-lawsuit-and-raise-you-two dept.

Movies 889

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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Stephen King, author, dead at 55 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4310096)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

A poll? (4, Interesting)

compacflt (230312) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310097)

This would be a good story to base a poll on!

My vote is hung, can't decide.


Re:A poll? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4310113)

This would be a good story to base a poll on! My vote is hung, can't decide.

That's the only thing about you that's hung, you friggin' first-post troller.

While I'm not generally a fan of copyright law... (3, Insightful)

Corvaith (538529) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310100)

I think, on this one, they're solidly in the right.

Sure, people have a right to not be exposed to that sort of content. They're free to find other movies to watch, ones that mesh better with their ideals. The idea that they have some sort of right to take a knife to someone else's work... and then /market/ that... seems idiotic, to me. I'm hoping the directors win.

Now, I have no problem with people doing their own editing. The main issue, as I see it, is that all these little companies are making money off of the destruction of someone else's creative vision. And that... just sits very badly with me.


Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4310102)

Re:While I'm not generally a fan of copyright law. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310178)

i agree.

and besides, the films that parents would like to be edited would end up with ~20-30mins of film after editing out all the violence and sex.

you can't really say that you've read LOTR+silmarillion if you've just browsed through some 2page long magazine article giving away some details..

Question is... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4310101)

is there a sister company called Dirty Flicks, which makes films consisting solely of all the bits they cut out?

Insightful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4310173)

WTF moderated this as insightful? Funny - yes, Insightful - no way. Lay off the weed guys. Christ there are some dumbasses out there.

Re:Insightful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4310204)

No NO ---- Lay ON the weed guys!!!! Take advantage.

Re:Insightful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4310239)

This comes under the general category of "don't sweat the small stuff." "Interesting" and "Insightful" and "funny" will have the basically same effect on the comment, and the difference between the two is basically just a judgment call. Rate the moderation "Fair," and move on.

Tyler Durden Inc. (3, Funny)

Perianwyr Stormcrow (157913) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310247)

No, see, the bizarro version of Clean Flicks would obviously be a company that splices frames from pornography into "family" films.

Whose Side (5, Insightful)

alistair (31390) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310103)

"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?"

This is an easy one, you quite clearly take the side of the consumer, even though in this case you may not agree with their use of their rights. Free speach is to be supported, even if no one person could support, say, the racist and anti-racist uses that this may be put to. So first you support the fundamental principle and then you critisise those who would use that right for what you may consider to be "the wrong ends".

Re:Whose Side (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4310195)

Speech, not speach, you pitiful excuse for a native-born English English speaker!

I swear, this error is even more frequent than the bane of LoseNotLooseGuy's existence...

(NB: parent poster's user id)

They're suing all over the place. (2, Redundant)

hatchet (528688) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310104)

Those silly americans are suing everyone for everything.. there is always only one winner in the end and that's a lawyer. He always wins.

Predicted response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4310105)

"Eh, nuke 'em both. Let Tux sort 'em out."

That, or "CowboyNeal."

Censoring non-family friendly movies (0)

fliptw (560225) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310106)

You know what happens when you censor a non-family friendly movie. you get a nff movie with annoying bleeps in it. you know what happens when you edit out the nff content of a nff movie. A badly editied nnf movie. Sheer Genius.

Asshole consumers (1)

fleppir (563959) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310107)

So, having items rated isn't good enough? Explicit Violence, Some Sex Slang, Full Frontal Nudity. sheez, I wouldn't have guessed anything in there would offend then moral MINORITY. Funny part is, the people who would like services like this are the people that say we are born guilty into this world.

What's the problem? (5, Insightful)

hol (89786) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310108)

C'mon - this is not an issue. I will happily take the side of someone arguing for end-user rights. Full stop.

Just because a company who is willing to defend this right decides to sanitize films for overprotective parents does not make them less worthy of it. Further, the fact they make those sanitized films puts me under no obligation at all to be their customer.

We should be supporting them if we agree with the goal of making copyright law more sane, and protecting the right to use products that we purchased, not questioning what they do with that right.

Re:What's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4310225)

I do agree that copyright laws should be more sane. There are alot of BS laws that in the end hurt consumers and help big companies.

I have to agree with director's based on one thing. The business is a Utah-based RENTAL chain. If they are a rental chain, they are obviously making money off of it and coming up with whatever excuses they can to cover their asses. If they were lending or giving away copies to overprotective parents, it wouldn't be as bad, but I have to draw the line at making profit over chopping someone elses work up.

Side against the directors... (2, Troll)

Critical_ (25211) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310109)

Unfortunately, these days I wouldn't be surprised if an infants first words were "sex" instead of "mama" or "papa". Why? Most media has gone way too overboard with sex and profanity in films. Sure, when I'm with the guys its fine but if there are little kids even around in the house, I don't want to have to censor that stuff. Before anyone goes off on me about censoring content let me just say that it is my children who I deal with and raise so I *will* censor anything even remotely obscene. Movie houses such as these allow movies to be played without the worry of junior sneaking around when watching such films at night.

Anyway, I fail to see how profanity/sex is an art form in films. Without those scenes, I don't lose any meaning to the film. If I wanted that stuff, I'd rather go get pr0n instead. Furthermore, I can still censor this stuff w/ a fast forward feature. How is hollywood gonna stop me now? Oh wait, some DVDs don't allow you to time advance!

Re:Side against the directors... (1)

hol (89786) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310126)

Anyway, I fail to see how profanity/sex is an art form in films.

I fail to see how most hollywood films are an art form.

Re:Side against the directors... (0)

D+iz+a+n+k+Meister (609493) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310213)

I fail to see how most hollywood films are an art form without profanity/sex.

sex != bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4310154)

I wouldn't be surprised if an infants first words were "sex"

I hope you are joking because you sound really delusional. Is the act that created your child so frighteningly ugly that it would scar her forever to see it? Would she even care? Children don't have the twisted thoughts or sense of shame that so many adults seem to have. I remember seeing sex scenes in films (and accidentally seeing people having sex in real life, just covered by sheets) as a young one and was simply slightly puzzled. I was not "traumatized". No, commercials on TV for Friday the 13th the movie were the first "media" trauma for me as a child.

That's why in Britain they have their heads on straight: sex is on broadcast TV and violent scenes are controlled. I don't care if people want to play violent games or watch violent films, it is sick to advertise a movie about an axe murdering psychopath at four in the afternoon, right after I got home from elementary school.

Re:Side against the directors... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4310210)

I fail to see how profanity/sex is an art form in films. Without those scenes, I don't lose any meaning to the film.

Can I have some of what you're smoking? Let's say you're watching a film where one of the main characters is a gangster; would it make any sense, artistically or character-wise, to have him going around saying "Hey! Darn you, you gosh-darned poo-head!" to people who try to fuck with him? Does the addition of the "Clothes for Leeloo" scene in the Fifth Element automatically make the movie unsuitable for anyone under the age of 18? Does it do children great harm to discover that women's chests are just like men's, only they stick out farther?

In Europe, it's not unusual to see nudity on public TV, and the people over there had not, last I heard, turned into sex-crazed maniacs (if you know otherwise, please post here, as I am sure that many of those on Slashdot would be quite interested in that information).

Re:Side against the directors... (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310221)

I don't want to have to censor that stuff.

And this is your whole problem: you do not *want* to censor *yourself*, better have some companies do it for you and just be inactive. You are talking about your own kids, it is *your* reponsibility to raise them correctly and if you do not want to see them obscene stuff and/or violence, just do not buy the damned movies that contain violence and/or sex. That's what ratings are for.
And if you worry about TV: in the US there is no sex on TV anyway...violence on the other hand, but well you could just as well keep out the TV completely.

Who's side? (3, Insightful)

RumGunner (457733) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310110)

You're either "FOR copyright facism" or "AGAINST censorship." I think I'll choose against censorship.

I think we've had more than enough puritanism. If you don't want your kids to see violence or sex, don't show them the bloody movie. Read them a book or something. Or would that be too much work for parents?


Re:Who's side? (1)

hol (89786) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310142)

You're either "FOR copyright facism" or "AGAINST censorship." I think I'll choose against censorship.

I'm sorry - so you feel obligated to purchase that company's censored products then? How?

I don't see the need/obligation to be their customer. It's just nice to see someone standing for end-user rights, whoever they are, who cares what they do with it. You, as the end user, would have the right not to buy their product.

Re:Who's side? (2, Interesting)

idiotnot (302133) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310160)

You're either "FOR copyright facism" or "AGAINST censorship." I think I'll choose against censorship.

This is not censorship. Only a government can censor. This is unauthorized re-editing, then re-selling that product you didn't produce, but modified.

I think we've had more than enough puritanism. If you don't want your kids to see violence or sex, don't show them the bloody movie. Read them a book or something.

If only more people would do this....

Or would that be too much work for parents?

Sadly, in many cases is the answer is "yes." That's why we've got V-Chips in televisions, a television rating system that was created under duress (Senator Lieberman said Washington would act if Hollywood didn't do something), and the Communications Decency Act.

I agree, though, editing films to remove sex and violence without permission is wrong. If the directors want to target the audience these editors are serving, they'll edit the films themselves. In fact, it would be in their benefit to do so, as it expands the available market for their product.

Re:Who's side? (3, Insightful)

SmokeSerpent (106200) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310177)

Its not censorship if you choose not to view something, whether by averting your eyes or by hiring an agent to cover them for you. No one is being forced to view the "sanitized" version instead of the original.

Re:Who's side? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4310214)

If I buy a copy of a film do I have the right to:

A. sell it as my own work? NO
B. sell a derivative as my own work? NO
C. decide to not watch part of it? YES
D. make a derived copy for my own use? YES
E. pay someone to make a derived copy per D for me? YES

What's the big deal? SO a company is offering a service? What is the legal alternative to this? If you buy a film you MUST watch all parts of it? ..d

Re:Who's side? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4310224)

No, no. Please.


When I buy a copy of a copyrighted item, say a book, I buy one piece of exclusive, unlimited right to use that item (i.e. read it). This right to use the item is exclusive (it is my book) and it is unlimited (I can use the book in any way I like).

If I would like to read the last chapter first to find out who the murder is, the author has no right to deny me that no matter how wrong he or she would think that would be. I am even free to use the pages in the book as wall paper if I like the book. Or if I dislike the book I could use the pages as toilet paper or I could burn the book publicly as a protest. The author has absolutely no right to deny me that.

There are some that I cannot do with the book. I cannot go to a book publishere and try to publish the book in my name. BUT: this is completely independent of my usage right; it does not matter if the book comes from my or my neighbours book shelf. The police might have objections to me publicly burning books in protest, but again this has nothing to to with if I own the book or not. The point is: these restrictions of my freedom to do whatever I like with the book are general restrictions decided by the society and not by the copyright holder. The copyright holder has absolutely no right to limit my usage of a copy.

And now to the point

The unlimited right to use the item also include modification.

If a book refers to figure 4a on page 56 but the figure actually is on page 57 I can of course correct the text.

If the book has illustrations which I dislike I can paint over them or rip out the pages.

If I have a book with food receipes and one of them says 4 eggs nobody in the whole wide world can deny me changing that to 5 eggs.

Fighting against copyright facism is much more importaint than against censorship. Just see how completely mad the software industry are trying to (and unfortunately to a large degree have succseeded to) direct socity and laws where modifying computer programs are said to be illegal (which it of course not is).

Copyright with regards to a computer program is 100% identical with copyright for other items like books; it regulates the right to make new copies, not how to use them.

I'd take (2, Insightful)

job0 (134689) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310111)

Clean Flicks side. They've bought the video each time and no one is forced to buy the cleaned up version are they? What's the difference between this and with people doing their own editing. They are simply providing a service.

GPL (2, Interesting)

fleppir (563959) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310120)

I don't remember directors releasing movies under GPL, so why should anyone be able to tamper with their work?

Re:GPL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4310217)

The same reason I should be able to take apart whatever the hell I just bought and paid for, modify it, and sell it to a single customer who desires that service.

Re:GPL (5, Insightful)

OrangeSpyderMan (589635) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310218)

I don't remember directors releasing movies under GPL, so why should anyone be able to tamper with their work?

I genuinely believe that I should be able to do what I want with a product once I've bought it, as long as I do not tred on the toes of the person I bought it from.

Example: I buy a book. I should be allowed to lend it to a friend, tear pages out, write notes in the margin, strike out paragraphs I don't like or aren't interesting to me. Hell I should even be able to sell or give away my copy because I freakin' paid for it. People may not want to buy my copy if I've torn pages out or struck out certain paragraphs but if they know I've done this and still want to buy it then no-one should try and stop them buying it or me selling it.

A Vote for the Directors (0)

Sean Trembath (607338) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310112)

No artist wants to see their work changed for public viewing. A true film maker ensures that every image in the piece is important. Editing the content of a film is akin to refurbishing Michaelangelo's David with a leaf covering the genitalia.

If anyone needs an example of how 'clean' editing ruins a film see both versions of Darren Aronofsky's Requiem For A Dream. The edited version lacks the emotional punch that makes the real film excellent.

Here's hoping the directors get what they're after.

Funny how in today's world a fourteen year old can go see heads exploding in slow motion, but he can't see an exposed female breast.

Re:A Vote for the Directors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4310169)

Funny how in today's world a fourteen year old can go see heads exploding in slow motion, but he can't see an exposed female breast.

Actually, he could see a couple in the Fifth Element (PG-13). Damn nice ones, too.

Re:A Vote for the Directors (1)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310229)

Editing the content of a film is akin to refurbishing Michaelangelo's David with a leaf covering the genitalia.

Ha Ha! The movie studios re-edit their OWN DIRECTORS work all the fucking time to get the rating they want and to get the "right" reaction in test screenings. If you think that the movie business is even tangentially related to 'art' then you're stunningly naiive.

which side to take? (1)

chegosaurus (98703) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310115)

err.. the one with the T&A?

As long as proper age restrictions are there... (4, Interesting)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310118)

I've always wondered why censorship is needed if proper age limits are set. Perhaps the discussion shouldn't be whether we can see the movie without censoring or not, but if they have the proper age restrictions. I've found it strange that here in Sweden, we have the highest normal restriction at an age of 15 when we are minors until 18. Still, movies with extreme violence are shown without problems to 15 year olds. Heck, I'm sure 14 year olds can watch the movie without too much trouble as well.

When we have the "proper" age restrictions (where it's another story to decide how to set them), I definitely think we should have no censorships. I can decide what to watch and not. If I had bad experiences from an extremely violent movie, I would never think "Oh, why didn't they protect me from that scene by censoring it!?" but instead "Why did the director keep that unnecessarily violent scene".

Arrgh! (2)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310135)

Sorry, I thought this was all about movies in general and not video tapes. Stupid me... >:(

This *is* a tricky one... (2)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310119)

On the one hand, you have the movie companies protesting at their films being hacked about in the name of "decency", and on the other you have the people who claim the right to chop rude bits out of films if they want.

Clean Flicks don't seem to expect us all to watch their films. If it was the BBFC or its American equivalent, stating that *all* prints of these films must be edited, that would be different. However, they seem quite happy to leave others alone and give customers the choice to watch an edited version.

Now, that's fair use, isn't it? It sounds like fair use to me. The company aren't passing off the films as their own, just removing bits their customers may find offensive. I'd say they had the right to do that - as long as, as they say, they have one copy of the complete film for every one copy of the edited film.

I can't see many of the films making much sense afterwards, though. You could watch "9 1/2 Weeks" in about 20 minutes...

Re:This *is* a tricky one... (4, Interesting)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310144)

Not tricky at all from the side that matters: the public's side. People who want movies without the profanity and whatnot now have a choice. The rest of us can still rent the smutty versions at our local video rental. This is not censorship, and it isn't any different from TV stations editing out naughty bits or beeping out cusswords.

misrepresentation is the issue, not copyright (2)

danny (2658) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310199)

So I can take your post, modify it in any way I like, and then repost it *under your name*?

The problem is not really copyright infringement, it's misrepresentation. So I think the company should be allowed to rent or sell edited versions of the films, but they should be forced to change the titles, the name of the producer, the names of the actors, etc. if any of those people insist on it.

If I wrote a novel and someone bowdlerized it and then published the result under my name, I'd be pretty peeved.


Re:misrepresentation is the issue, not copyright (2)

mshiltonj (220311) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310231)

If I wrote a novel and someone bowdlerized it and then published the result under my name, I'd be pretty peeved.

Thomas Jefferson did this to the Bible! But it is clearly labeled as being different from the original source. If God can tolerate a little after-market editing, I think we can, too.

Re:misrepresentation is the issue, not copyright (1)

Hes Nikke (237581) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310248)

If I wrote a novel and someone bowdlerized it and then published the result under my name, I'd be pretty peeved.

you must not be a published auther then. verry few works make it to press in there orignal form, most are edited by...the publisher!

Re:This *is* a tricky one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4310201)

I wanna see the censored South Park movie!

Re:This *is* a tricky one... (2, Insightful)

buzzcutbuddha (113929) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310203)

This is very different than the TV Stations showing edited versions for one important reason:
When you see something in an edited form on TV, it has been edited with the direct consent of the Director of the movie, and they often had a hand in the editing themselves.

Clean Flicks takes a movie that is not theirs, edits it, often poorly, without anyone's consent, and resells it to customers. And that's the other important point.

Fair-use is fine, as long as I am not trying to make a profit from the movie. If I want make a copy of tape to give to a friend offended by more pureile parts, and I leave them out, that's fine. But if I'm trying to sell the copy, and pass it off to people then I am infringing on a copyright.

It would be no different than if someone were to take an O'Reilly book, replace a few words here and there, remove a chapter, and try and sell the thing as the original. It's not legal, and it should be stopped. Clean Flicks should get consent from the directors before doing what they do.

Re:This *is* a tricky one... (1)

LoztInSpace (593234) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310180)

Where does it all end though? How can you be sure that what you end up with bears any resemblance to what the director wanted? Perhaps some important message would get changed into sort of religeous propaganda or something along those lines. A bit of an off topic analogy, but when a friend was at university, the local lefties proposed writing to president Regan informing him of something like "this universities dislike of nuclear weapons in England and please acknowledge our desire for you to remove them". Then all the right wing turned up en mas and proposed an amendment: "this univiersity thinks nukes are really jolly good and could we have some more". Being the majority, they won the vote, so assuming the letter got sent (which I doubt) someone could have got completely the wrong message. I think it's slightly relevent.....

At least let me know ... (1)

imperator_mundi (527413) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310123)

Besides the legal issues when I watch a movie I would like to know if any sort of adaptation was made.

But I fear that no editor would put a "we reedited the movie because we are better than directors and censorship in deciding what you should see" sticker on it.

Re:At least let me know ... (1)

dossen (306388) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310163)

Come on... Blockquote the /. blurp:
...arrangement. The edited tapes also
carry a disclaimer that the film was edited for content, the company says.' Whose...

(My emphasis)

Hubris (5, Insightful)

quintessent (197518) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310125)

The studios release differing versions of movies for a number of purposes:

for release in different regions

They release "unrated" versions of movies like American Pie on DVD.

Yet, somehow when consumer groups ask for versions of videos that are more "family friendly" (say, the same versions they provide for TV or airlines), the studios turn their noses up.

Finally, people get fed up with this and someone begins to profit by providing what people are asking for. The studios realize that someone else is making a profit and turn their lawyers loose.

Re:Hubris (0)

ObitMan (550793) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310222)

you forgot

Re:Hubris (3, Interesting)

Corvaith (538529) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310235)

Maybe their efforts would be better turned, then, towards making movies that don't have violence and sex as a part of their plotlines, as so many do today? (The ones that it's not a part of the plotline, it generally takes up so much space anyway that you'd probably end up with a five-minute short if you cut it all out.)

If you don't like what's in a movie, you're within your rights to not watch that movie. There are good movies out there that don't have all those elements in them. Your desire to not see anything violent does not mean that Peter Jackson has a responsibility to cut out all the battle scenes in Lord of the Rings in order to let you watch it.

Nor does it mean that another company should be able to change Jackson's work to better suit your tastes.

I think more movies without the overload of sex and violence that we often see today would be a great thing. I don't think that gives third parties the right to cut out all the bits they don't like and then re-market films that they don't own the rights to.

Fair enough (0, Flamebait)

Nobley (598336) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310127)

Seems fair enough to me if scenes are cut and the tape tells you that it has been done so, it is another issue if the company places a digital beard on captian kirk for the hell of it, that is simply confusing the intellectual property of the owners. On a side note, I noticed in the awards section for /. there hasnt been an award for /. in 2 years, could it be these repeating stories?

Re:Fair enough (2, Insightful)

m0rph3us0 (549631) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310228)

Really, if they are placing a beard on Captain Kirk why not? I mean people have paid for this work. It's theirs.

If someone buys software from me and takes a chunk out. And resells it why should I care, I'm getting paid for my work. If they were buying one copy editing it and reselling it a million times sure sue em.

But isn't this what we bitch at MS for every week. The ability to not be able to make changes to suit you needs. Freedom isn't about protecting what we like, it's about protecting what we don't like.

We become just as bad as the people we complain about when we oppose companies like clean flicks.

I'm sure if MS was taking someone to court because they were removing Win32 from it and replacing it with X and Gnome and all the things we like we would be vehemetly opposed. You cannot set arbitary limits on freedom.

The rules we set have to be applied in a broad and general sense.

"I do not agree with what you say but I defend to my death your right to say it" -- Voltaire

I feel in my gut that lean flicks is right. (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310132)

Even if im against censor this isnt really censorship. You can choose if you want your kids to see blood squirting 3 feet or if you want them to just see a movie without gore that (mostly) hasnt any real connection to the story. I can also see a great demand for this among people from religions where nekkidness is something dirty.

Many religions and groups have stayed where we wore some 50 years ago when it comes to violence and sex. What says that we are right and they are wrong?

Just as i dont want anyone to force censor upon me i dont want anybody to be forced to watch things thy dont want to see.

Re:I feel in my gut that lean flicks is right. (2)

Corvaith (538529) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310241)

The issue isn't that it's censorship. Different edits happen all the time. The thing is, those edits are done with the permission of the people who made the movie in the first place. CleanFlicks, and other companies like them, have decided to take it into their own hands. They're editing and re-selling without the permission of the people who made the movies.

If they had permission, there'd be no need for a lawsuit. Just because they have a desire that isn't being filled doesn't mean that they have the right to break laws in order to fill it.

Obvious comment... (5, Funny)

weave (48069) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310139)

Broadcast TV does this all the time.

btw, I'm almost tempted to buy Pulp Fiction from them. I think the entire movie would be about 5 minutes long -- the scene where honey bunny is talking about blueberry pankakes.

Nah, scratch that, they aren't married and are in a hotel together. OK, the boring cab scene.

"I'm American, our names don't mean bleeep"

Re:Obvious comment... (2)

complex (18458) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310250)

i'm sorry to inform you your pulp fiction fan club membership has been revoked.

honey bunny (amanda plummer) does not talk about blueberry pancakes. the blueberry pancake girl is butch's girlfriend, fabienne (maria de medeiros).

also, the cab scene focuses on how butch feels about killing a man. may not be appropriate for someone who rents a clean flicks film.

obontopic: i would have to side with the directors and studios on this one. this is censorship. i know, i know, the movie studios probably already have too much power in our society, but this is a total mangling of their creative output. it has the same movie name, it has the director's and the actors' names on it, but it is not what they made. if you're a parent looking to show a (say) pg-13 movie to your 9 year old, do the right thing and watch it for yourself and then decide if you can show it to your child. if it has some objectionable parts, then DON'T SHOW IT TO THEM. or do what my parents did and tell me i should cover my eyes with a blanket. :)

also, i'd like to know how certain credit issues work out. for example, in true romance i don't think brad pitt is seen on screen without marijuana or under the influence of drugs. if all his scenes are excised from the movie, do they take him out of the credits? also, legally speaking, do you think the writer is able to claim a form of misattribtuion. after all, if there are cinematically important developments in the story such as a character dying or two characters having sex that are removed, the story really is different, isn't it? in fact, it probably won't even make sense.

The Phantom Editor may be the next one sued (4, Insightful)

phr2 (545169) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310145)

People are in a huff about Clean Flicks because what's being edited is sex and violence, which gets one side yelling "smut!" and the other side "censorship!". But really, if it's what the viewer wants to watch, cutting the sex scenes out of doesn't seem worse than cutting Jar Jar Binks out of Star Wars 1. Best of all (but probably not feasible) would be if the edited movie was delivered as an edit list on the same media (e.g. DVD) as the unedited original, so the viewer would always be able to choose which version s/he wanted to watch. The edit list would just tell the player to automatically skip parts of the movie, if the user enables it.

Can this be a chance to overturn MAI Software? (5, Interesting)

phr2 (545169) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310155)

MAI Software was the ridiculous decision that by loading a program from disk to RAM in order to run it, you're making a temporary copy, and therefore need further permission (in the form of agreeing to an obnoxious EULA) before you can run a program you buy.

Clean Flicks is presumably copying the original film in the course of making its edit. If they win this case, it shows that such temporary copies aren't infringement after all. That could get rid of the MAI ruling, which would in turn make a lot of awful EULA's unenforceable.

I am supporting Clean Flicks on this one.

How can this even be a question? (5, Insightful)

C64 (130005) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310146)

If you really feel that watching a movie the way you perfer it even though it differs from the original presentation is wrong, well, listening to a CD outside of it's original presentation on the CD is wrong, too.

For all the babbling that goes on here at Slashdot about fair use, for someone to even question what ClearFlicks is doing is "right" really blows my mind (Well, it would if this weren't Slashdot).

Do I like what they're doing? No.
Do I have plans on buying movies from them? No.
Is it wrong for people to do what they want with their PROPERTY for their own private use? NO.

I'm sorry, but you can't have it both ways people - either you agree that we have our fair use rights, or we don't. So what if someone is doing something that you feel is Bad(tm) on artistic grounds? It's their choice to make - let them waste their money how they see fit, just as I should be allowed to waste mine as I see fit.

No one's forcing me to watch their bastardized verion of a movie - I see no reason someone should be forced to watch the original.

Who is forcing them? (1)

fleppir (563959) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310162)

Pornogrifiers for Evil Deeds and Violent Acts? This is the same zt, pc crap that's been peddled around school boards in the last decade. In the words of the Great George Carlin: "Life didn't come with a warranty, you are all guilty."

Re:How can this even be a question? (1)

two_ply (610736) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310236)

"Is it wrong for people to do what they want with their PROPERTY for their own private use? NO."

The problem with the Clean Flicks case is not that they're editing the movies to sit at home and watch them (fair use), it's that they're editing someone elses work, and then making PROFIT from it. They say they buy a copy of each movie they show, however if I buy a copy of blade 2 on DVD, and use my friends projector to show that to 40 of my closest friends charging $2 a head I'm 'stealing' from the movie company.

There is a bit of confusion with this post, this is not a fair use vs censorship issue. This is a matter of someone taking someone elses creation, doing what they will with it and then redistributing it for profit. Clean Flicks deseves to have the wrath of the movie industry (and thier lawyers) come down on them. It's the difference between ripping to mp3 all the tracks from a cd I own and playing them at home, and ripping 10 songs from 10 cds, putting them on one disc and selling it as a mix cd. Yes I have bought the cd's. Yes, ripping them for MY use is fair use. But when I start *making money from it* I have exceeded the bounds of fair use.

This is not a case of people wanting it both ways. The movie companies saying I can't rip my DVDs to VCD for a backup is screwing me. The Clean Flick people making profit from someone elses efforts, without their consent or permission (which is what happens with TV edits and 'Blockbuster' versions of movies), is screwing the creators. They're related, but not a matter of 'one or the other'.

Lets Be Reasonable (5, Insightful)

Cyberllama (113628) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310148)

Who does it hurt if people want to purchase (rent) a mutilated copy of a movie to watch? While I think most would agree they are short-changing themselves, I hardly see how this could be hurting anyone else. A legitimate copy of the movie has been purchased, so Royalties have been paid. A disclaimer is shown so people don't blame the inevitable crappiness of the movie on the directory. Honestly, I ask, what is wrong with this?

I frankly don't see any victims(other than the suckers renting this watered-down crap). And if you do see a problem with this, What about other movie edittings (I recall a certain edit of Star Wars Episode 1 that was rather popular involving, or should I say lacking, in a certain Mr. Binks)?

Could quickly get hairy... (4, Insightful)

fleeb_fantastique (208912) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310149)

Anyone remember Woody Allen's _What's Up, Tiger Lily_ film?

He took a terrible Japanese film and redubbed it with his own words to make the film considerably more enjoyable. Pretty heavy editing, that could have gotten him in some kind of trouble if Hollywood manages to succeed in their bid to keep people from editing movies.

Then there's Mystery Science Theater 3000...

This is not censorship: Go Clean Films, Go! (5, Insightful)

pvanheus (186787) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310165)

"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."

No, this is a clear misstatement of what's going on here. Clean Films, etc, are not removing anything from "the popular media". They're producing an alternative version of the popular media, for consumption by their customers.

In the past, the US-based religious right has launched verbal attacks on Hollywood. The response of many people to the religious right's arguments has been that if you don't like it, don't go and see it. Now, Clean Films are providing a third way: you can now see a version without the bits you don't like (a bit like the "Phantom Edit" does for Jar Jar Binks haters).

What Clean Films is doing is in fact an example of the classic liberal remedy for "bad speech": more speech. For myself, Clean Films' products, like "Christian Rock", will no doubt be aesthetically unpleasant. But I applaud their creativity in finding another way forward besides the bigoted "Clean Up Hollywood" crusades of the past.

The Director's Guild's actions here are plain and simple attempts at control, in an era when the technology has opened up new avenues for participation in popular culture. They're trying to maintain a simple "push" model of production, and a extremely simplistic and philosophically untenable notion of the director as solitary "creative genius". I REALLY hope they lose this one.


Re:This is not censorship: Go Clean Films, Go! (2)

Saxerman (253676) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310242)

Copyright law gives the copyright holder exclusive rights to distribute their content. This lawsuit has nothing to do with censorship or the rights of consumers to play with content. Whats at stake here is copyright law itself. Can I alter copyrighted content, claim value added, and then distribute my content as a derived work? If I can, do *I* then have a copyright over the content?

As usual: follow the money (3, Insightful)

ites (600337) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310174)

This discussion has nothing to do with 'artistic control'. It is about money.
The studios do not like a third party assuming any kind of editorial control over their content.
Someone has discovered a good market and is making money from it.
The studios are suing to try to regain control. As usual, Hollywood is reacting to events instead of leading them.
It is hard to sympathise with either party here: the studios are using lawyers instead of their imagination.
Clean Flicks are acting like mullahs. But no-one is being forced to chose their versions. Maybe a better comparison would be DJs who remix other's music.
The obvious solution is for the studios to give consumers the choices they want and are willing to pay for.
Knowing Hollywood, this is unlikely to happen fast.

How about pr0n? (4, Funny)

NightWhistler (542034) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310181)

So let's get this straight: the directors want you to watch every part of the movie, just because they made it?

So when I watch pr0n I can't fast-forward the 'dialogs'?
Better start stocking up on good books... ;-)

Choice (2, Insightful)

beswicks (584636) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310182)

What Clean Flicks are doing is really just about expanding the choices consumers have.

Directors do not really get the final say on the cut of films anyway, the studios do, thats why there are so many 'directors cut' editions released when a film becomes 'big'.

They are marketing the films in a completly upfront way and they are not selling via 'normal' outlets. People are not going to confuse these films with the 'real thing'(tm) so its a non-problem.

Whats next, fast forwarding and leaving the room being made illegal as you may not get the directors true 'vision'?


Neither nor. (2)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310186)

I honestly hate both. They are both treating customers as clueless children, that must be beaten into submission.

Also, I am not surprised the Clean Flicks company is based in Utah. much as I despise the practice... (5, Interesting)

jdbo (35629) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310187)

...of censoring films, I have little problem with this "in concept", as it is voluntary on the part of the renter.

In practice, however, I get a sinking feeling in my belly at the idea that censored versions of "cultural works" (movies, books, whatever) will be going into wide distribution (not sure how wide, but certainly wider than it currently is should this be judged a legal practice). this uneasiness is compounded by the realization that community pressure will push people towards only renting from the "nice store" that doesn't push "dirty movies" (yes I'm caricaturing, but social pressures _do_ work this way).

I would much prefer that the original version of the movie be distributed on DVD, along with a DVD playlist that can be used to playback a "niche audience" version (similar to "play widescreen/fullscreen").

I see this as actually being a significant enough market that some sort of modified DVD player that accepts a separate CD (containing one or many "alternate cut" playlists for a film) could be a strong seller, with several bonuses:
  • variable cuts could be made for different community standards (some people don't like sex in movies, some don't like violence. some don't like both, some are OK with both, but hate the dirty words. this system could serve all of these groups without having to dub multiple copies for each audience, or use complex controls (and no, it is not reasonable to ask someone to update a text-based config file in order to watch a movie. sheesh.)
  • the "closeted" uncensored-movie viwer (living in areas where the censored store is the only video outlet) could watch their PG+ fare with impunity
  • the studios can't claim distribution-based copyright infringment, and (once more) the original cut option is still there...
  • unlike the 100 posts discussing how one could do this using DeCSS + misc. linux utilities, this could be watched on a home entertainment system without having to deal with the fershluggin' computer.
  • no generation-loss transfer issues

As far as this case goes (IANAL etc. etc.), I see the achilles heel as being the cooperative ownership aspect. That seems to fall right in the zone of judicial judgment (please correct me if I'm off), and the entertainment industry has all those scary lawyers who know exactly which judges to push the case in front of, not to mention plenty of other dirty tricks.

(In short, both sides suck, and everyone should listen to me.)

Censorship vs. DRM? Hardly! (3, Interesting)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310189)

The slashdot blurb is misleading - the DGA represents the directors, not the corporations - hence the crap about robbing consumers of their rights by pushing DRM is complete hogwash. What we have here is a bunch of people who want to watch the latest movies, but who are unwilling to watch the whole thing (due to hang-ups about sex, violence, etc.) They want to live nice "clean" lives, and don't want to see the movie as the director intended.

Lacking the know-how to do it themselves, they happily employ the services of this company, which has made big inroads among certain communities, and is making this business of chopping films for consumption very profitable. It's getting to the point where the movies the directors make are not getting to the end audience they way they intended.

Traditionally, the way the directors handled these cases was pretty much - tough, that's my film, if you don't like some of the material, you're welcome not to watch. It was up to the individual. Here, you have what arguably is a distributor (the "co-ownership" agreement aside, which I would argue is purely a legal device), dictating what the audience sees.

"So what?", you say? "The audience wants them to edit the films for them!" Well, there are several different takes on this issue, so let me re-frame the situation. People want web-filters to block "unsuitable" sites as well. Does that mean we should support web-blocking, since the blocking only happens by request of the end-user? Perhaps.

What about a bookstore with "sanitized" versions of popular works? Would you support that, even though it violates the writer's moral rights (after all, you have changed their work WITHOUT their permission.) Some of you would probably find that distasteful, or even disingenuous.

Personally, I find the practice disturbing. It's bad enough people choose to ignore history and reality, without enabling a practice that effectively filters out ideas and images, on popular media. What's next? Editing out minority populations (language and violent situations are already a casualty on movies and cartoons screened on network and even cable TV), replacing dialogue, or even characters?

Yes, much of this already happens with the blessing of the media companies (partially because they want to cater to this restrictive audience.) The directors gripe and grumble, but in the end, they can try and deliver DVDs and Videos that capture the vision of what they wanted to deliver. This service takes that control away, and puts it in the hands of a third party censor, who then effectively controls the vision of what is seen by this particular population.

In the end though, I guess what really bothers me is the attitude that these people have. It's the kind of attitude, I want to consume all I want, but I don't want to deal with the consequences of my consumption. Or, to rephrase it for these folks, they hate Hollywood and everything that it stands for, but they want to be entertained anyways. Arguably a good business opportunity, but not one that I would personally support. :P

And for people with kids... (2)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310205)

Oh, and to those of you with little kids to whom you want to show "Saving Private Ryan" - do the smart thing and JUST WAIT UNTIL THEY'RE OLDER.

After all, it isn't like there's a shortage of G-rated fare you can show them. I'm sure the director would thank you also, for respecting his/her work, and allowing your kids the full experience of seeing the films as you probably saw them. Those of you adults who would rather edit all the gore out for yourselves, please read my previous post.

Suppose they sell a box instead (2)

phr2 (545169) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310246)

That plugs between your VCR and your TV set. Most of the time the box does nothing and just passes the signal through. But if you want to watch a "cleaned up" movie, you play the movie on your VCR and enter the movie title (or catalog number) into the box when you start the tape. The box just passes the movie through, except at certain times that are programmed into it, it mutes the sound and blanks the video for as long as the scene takes. It instead shows some text on the screen saying that the scene is being blanked because that's what the viewer wanted. When the "offensive" part is over, the screen goes back to normal.

How can anyone call that any kind of infringement? Is it infringement to close your eyes during parts of a movie you don't like? Editing stuff on the tape is just an easier way to do that.

Anyone else -hate- Utah? (2)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310190)

I don't mean to sound like a troll, but I h-a-t-e Utah. Visiting Utah is like visiting a state governed by the senior management of Walmart Inc. It's a big Wonder Bread eating, media censoring, money hungry slab of land that has produced one too many Osmond kids.

I hope those directors win. I don't care how crappy or violent modern movies are... film is an art, and censoring art is ridiculous. People need to learn how to interpret art properly. Moreover, people need to teach their kids how to interpret art properly.

Let me put it this way. Pulp Fiction needs Sam Jackson saying "freak'n" and "heck" no more then the statute of David needs a pair of boxer briefs.

Jar-Jar (1)

Pivot (4465) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310191)

Anything that would make it legal to edit away Jar-Jar would be welcome... Or?

Turn it around then...and play it again Sam (1)

madmarcel (610409) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310192)

Ok, let's turn the whole thing upside down/ around then...
(*Sometimes* this can give you a better view of the problem/situation ;^)

Let's say there _is_ a video rental company called
eh...'Dirty Flicks',
which buys (crappy :) films and inserts more smutty & violent & offensive scenes.

(Hmm...that might actually work - quick! patent it! :)

Obviously the directors would sue the company and
the company would sue the director...for exactly the same reasons...

NOW which side do you take?

"By next week Friday...I could have my own Pr0n video empire!"

Exactly where do I get the edited-for-tv version? (2, Interesting)

fwc (168330) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310194)

Let me see if I can boil this down a bit:

Note: I haven't seen a cleanflicks film but have heard about them from others who have. Please read the following accordingly.

Clean Flicks takes a video owned by their customer, cuts a few specific chunks out of it, splices it back together (minus the chunks) and gives it back to the customer.

There has been no duplication of the video. In fact, the video has been legally purchased from a legal source. The only modification was the removal of the material, and perhaps a sticker stuck on the front of the tape to say "hey this isn't the full version, we've removed some stuff from it".

I can understand why a director might not like people messing with the content of their movies. What I don't understand is what leg the copyright holders think they have to stand on. If I buy a video and decide to cut chunks out of it before I watch it what business is it of the directors? Similarly, if I want to pay someone else to cut chunks out of it, again, what business is it of the directors?

I could possibly understand the complaint if CleanFlicks were marketing these as the uncut, unedited versions, but they aren't. In fact, they are being very up front about what they are doing. The cutting service is what they are in fact selling, not the videos themselves.

Personally, I think the studios/directors/etc. have brought this on themselves. Back when DVD's first were coming out, part of the selling points was that movie studios could release multiple copies of a movie on a DVD, say a edited-for-tv version and a regular version.

Where are the edited-for-tv versions? There are a LOT of movies I would buy if I could purchase a copy on DVD which was somewhat cleaned up. I'm sorry, I just don't need to see or hear some of the images and/or language which hollywood seems to feel they need to put in movies (I get enough of that reading slashdot).

Technically, providing a cleaned up version alongside the full version on a DVD shouldn't be a big issue. Putting a edited-for-tv soundtrack on a disk as an additional language track alongside the commentaries and the half-dozen languages wouldn't be a big thing space-wise. Likewise, I suspect that setting up some sort of automatic "play only these scenes" when in "edited" mode should be doable, although I'm not a DVD mastering expert.

Note that I'm not trying to say that noone should watch these things. What I am saying is that I would like to have a choice over whether I watch a complete, unedited version, or say a complete version but without every other word being something you wouldn't say in mixed company, or even a "hacked up for TV" version that I might dare recommend a family watch with their kids.

The only two options the studios have provided for me today is to watch the movie or to not watch the movie. Cleanflicks is trying to provide a third option for those who want it. If the studios would have provided this option via DVD or some other technology, CleanFlicks probably wouldn't even exist.

I also would submit that a lot of the people that buy movies from CleanFlicks probably wouldn't buy the same movies if they weren't edited for content. As a result, I suspect that CleanFlicks is probably *improving* the bottom line cash-wise for the directors and for the studios. How can this be a bad thing?

They literally cut and splice VHS tapes?! (2)

phr2 (545169) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310232)

I thought you couldn't do that, because the splice would mess up the spinning head. So I figured the editing involved temporary copying.

Whose side? (1)

Ambush (120586) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310196)

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?

Whose side? I'd take the side of Clean Flicks any day, and not necessarily because I advocate censorship. If Clean Flicks offer an alternative 'version' of the film, then I have the choice of which to purchase (or hire?). If I prefer not to see certain content, then I may choose to purchase it from Clean Flicks, or I could still buy it from the usual channels if I want the original in all it's glory.

Heck, it's not as though you have no choice people! This is not censorship, it is choice.

By the way, censorship is evil.

pedantic (1)

SmokeSerpent (106200) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310197)

I doubt that "...the DGA is defending the desecration..."

Perhaps you meant "The DGA is protesting the desecration..." or "The DGA is defending films against desecration..."?

Simple technological solution (2)

richieb (3277) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310198)

Imagine a DVD player that can be programmed to skip scenes or to bleep out sounds for a second or two. Now imagine that the instructions to do this can have be downloaded into the player.

Then all Clean Flicks can do is to sell the edit instructions, and not touch the DVD at all.

Clearly the player should be set up that a movie without edits could not be played, unless you knew sme password...etc. Then we could all see the alternate edit of "Phantom Menace"...

I wonder how this would be made illegal? :-)

Hey, Remember the 80s? (2)

mshiltonj (220311) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310206)

In the 80s, before mainstream net, and definitely before mp3 and streaming radio, I and my friends would buy lots of CDs.

We all know at, at most, only half of the songs on each CD were worth listening to. What we did was make compilation tapes from various CDs.

You would not believe the care and consideration that went into the making of hese tapes. Each tape had a theme. Each tape was designed for a specific experience.

We would borrow each other's CDs to get the right songs -- and in the right order. The tapes ended up being quite personal in nature, so we usually didn't end up sharing the tapes -- unless the tape was made specifically for that other person (usually of the opposite sex).

But, everyone once in a while, usually while riding in a car, someone would ask, "Hey, that's a good tape! Can you make me a copy?"

I even had a mixer and two CD players so I didn't have to pause between tracks. I just time it right and the tape was one continous muscial experience.

What Clean Flicks is doing is not at all fundamentally different from what I did in junior and high schoool. They have my support.

Anime fansubs? (2, Insightful)

Froobly (206960) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310207)

Anime fandom has the well-known process of fansubbing -- making home-made subtitled versions of Japanese videos. This involves changing what is put up on the screen (by overlaying subtitles) and then distributing the output to the end consumer.

If CleanFlix can't sell paid-for copies of movies that have been altered, regardless of poor taste, then where does that put fansubbers?

I agree that CleanFlix have used their legal powers for evil, but these powers are ones to which they should be entitled, regardless of intent.

Rights (1)

m0rph3us0 (549631) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310209)

I'd have to side with Clean Flicks on this, its not as if they are copying the films, and its not as if they are forcing people to watch the edited versions, they are simply making them available. If you want to cut out the last 30 pages of a book or the last 30 minutes of a movie. Or maybe you just ask your kids to close their eyes during a part of a movie. Is this really a bad thing? Do we no longer have the right to edit the the things we purchase?

misrepresenation the issue - software analogy (2)

danny (2658) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310212)

It's perfectly legal to take free software and modify it. But it's not ok to take (say) the Apache code, introduce a few thousand security holes into it, and then distribute the resulting binaries as "Apache".

Similarly, whether you think it should be ok to do anything to films, surely it's not ok to take Citizen Kane, cut arbitrary portions of it out, and then redistribute the result as Orson Welles' Citizen Kane...


Re:misrepresenation the issue - software analogy (2, Insightful)

m0rph3us0 (549631) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310238)

Umm... almost none of the companies that use apache source code market it as apache, and it looks to me like Clean Flicks simply edits the video for the customer, or provides pre-edited videos, which they inform the customer of. They are not just reselling a different version as their own. What is the difference between Clean Flicks and the fast forward button?

Bubo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4310215)

Though I'm not exactly enthusiastic about what these Clean Flicks people are doing, it can hardly be called censorship. It would be 100%legal for someone to rent the original video and fast forward through the offensive parts, which would produce the exact same effect. The Clean Flicks people are simply making it less of a hassle. Since the full version of the video is on 99% of the other DVDs/cassettes available for rental, the directors are not being censored in any meaningful sense of the word. If they don't want their names associated with the edited versions, then they could be blanked out of the credits...

I wouldn't let them if this was my work ... (2)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310216)

I'm a writer myself, and if someone would do that to my stories I'd go tell them to go and read something else. It's my brain child, and if I put scene thus and so in it, I did it for a reason, and if you don't like it, bad luck. Write something yourself, but don't rape my story.
However, a screenplay/ scenario-writer is making a half-product. He knows it's going to be altered in many ways before anybody ever sees the film based on his work. In this case I'm not sure where the artistic responsibility lies, but I guess in Hollywood, this would be with the producer and/or director. They have last say, and if they're all right with people changing things in their stories which might alter the gist and meaning of a film, well, so be it. It does say something I guess about which way of the balance you're on: artistical integrity don't touch my baby or fork over the money please are the two extremities of this balance.

I can c why people are angry (0)

Playboy3k (552242) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310219)

U have spent years perfecting your moive then some guy comes along takes out scenes from it and sells it again. Besides its pathic to say its for the children. SEX happens so lets not act as if it dosent its not like im going to go well now i have seen sex i have to go do it and if that is the case what kind of stupid parents do i have.

It's the law: (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310220)

It's the law: If you own a copy, you, or anyone, can do anything you like with that copy. You could edit Sylvester Stallone from a movie and put in yourself. You cannot do a public performance of an altered work without permission, but you can do anything you like that does not involve a performance.

Robert Redford and Steven Spielberg complain. However, if they didn't make such poor quality films, this would not be an issue. I don't think that cutting something from their films will improve them much, but if people want that, I'm sympathetic to their wanting something that, while it is still not good, is less objectionable.

This is a fact: Many older people are so annoyed by the fake sentiments and foolish thinking of movies that they don't watch them. Most movie goers are young.

Most films made in the U.S. show losers. Since I'm (mostly) successful, I don't identify with the characters in the films.

Easy call, people.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4310227)

There is a large difference between private consumer "fair use" and a company systematically editing and redistributing copyrighted material.

This is what copyright was created for: To stop people from desecrating and misrepresenting the works of others; not to make money.

Yes, there should have strong fair use.
But this ISN'T FAIR USE.
Fair use is:

Me burning a mix cd from my CD collection for my car

Me making MP3:s of my CD collection, so I can play them on my computer or MP3 player.

Use of quotations in texts
et c , I hope the difference is clear.

If you want an edited movie. You'll just have to buy the tape and do it yourself.

I am taking the side of The Guild (1)

paja (610441) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310230)

I remember when communist censors edited a movie called Silkwood [] . The problem was sex (better traces of sex), and the movie lost a lot of its plot and became really stupid.

I understand DGA problem: what if the movie looses an important point in plot or just the feeling of the movie? I think good example of this is Blade Runner [] , where we have a release made by producer of the movie and a release made by Ridley Scott , which is IMHO much more better.

As of the copyright law, I think that from the "money paid" point of view, it is ok. The question is: can they (Clean Flicks) sue me for starting a company called Dirty Flicks, which will buy Clean Flick version of the movie, add twice ammount of violence and sex and resell it? WOW, I am going to be millionare - imagine this movie [] full of porn, betiality, blood and shooting

Just two . (1)

spacefight (577141) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310233)

This has modified the "Clean Slashdot Flick" in to any they not . mod down .

Hey, this is odd...(and probably offtopic :) (1)

madmarcel (610409) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310237)

Just checked the 'mycleanflicks' site...
There's a list of movies that they will NOT edit
nor offer as E-Rentals.
(In the FAQ at the top)

Most of titles on the list are pretty obvious,
editing those would leave at most 5 minutes of filem (if that :)
but...'Liar liar'???

(Mind you, I haven't seen that film, but I was under the impression it's just a comedy???)

Not Cenorship al All (0)

Eidolon909 (589869) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310244)

This is not censorship at all. This is a company (Clean Flicks) providing a service that is obviously In Demand. They wouldn't survive as a company or rental chain if people did not want these edited movies.

I mean c'mon, they're based in Utah, obviously their customers are God Fearing Mormons and Latter Day Saints. These Mormons want their movies sterile and devoid of anything offensive. They are making a concious decision.

I am sure there is at least one Blockbuster in all of Utah where Mormons who don't want this service can rent unedited videos.

But don't call it censorship, a company is simply meeting the demands of its customers.

Business Plan:

1. Cater to Mormons/Move to Utah
2. Edit movies to the point of Sterility
3. ????
4. Profit!!

Why would they even care? (1)

Erpo (237853) | more than 12 years ago | (#4310245)

I have to take the side of Clean Flicks on this one - there's no reason anyone should be restricted from buying bits, modifying them, and selling them. However, it makes me wonder why the directors even care. They can't be worried about their "vision being corrupted" as they don't complain about the TV versions of movies. The issue can't be money either - Clean Flicks buys a copy of the movie for every edited copy they sell. The directors, not to mention the MPAA, are making more money because the market for their products is broadened by Clean Flicks. I'm rather bewildered as to why they're so upset.

This story makes me think about that DVDSynth article slashdot had a few days ago. While the software is currently for geeks only, it doesn't seem like all that much effort would be required to implement a similar capability in set-top DVD players. If Clean Flicks were to distribute "mod cards" containing rom chips with info to patch the .ifo and .bup files on the DVD, the copyright gestapo wouldn't have a leg to stand on - Clean Flicks wouldn't be distributing copyrighted content, and they wouldn't have to buy a copy of the movie for every mod they sold. The directors and the MPAA would make just as much money as consumers would need to buy a copy of the original DVD for the mod roms to patch against.
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