Sunday, July 09, 2006

CLEARPLAY WATCH You'll remember that when the President signed the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act into law early last year, he carved out a copyright law exemption for ClearPlay, the company whose filtering technology censors dvds without modifying the discs themselves.

Things have been pretty quiet on the content filtering front since then. But this week there was news:

In a ruling in the case involving CleanFlicks vs. 16 of Hollywood's hottest directors, U.S. District Judge Richard P. Matsch found that making copies of movies to delete objectionable language, sex and violence hurts studios and directors who own the movie rights.

"Their [studios and directors] objective...is to stop the infringement because of its irreparable injury to the creative artistic expression in the copyrighted movies," the judge wrote in a 16-page decision. "There is a public interest in providing such protection. Their business is illegitimate."

Michael Apted, director of "Coal Miner's Daughter" and president of the Director's Guild of America, said Friday that movie directors can feel "vindicated" by the ruling.

"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," he said in a statement
Unlike ClearPlay, CleanFlicks copies dvds outright and re-edits them--an approach that put them squarely in conflict with the rights of artists and copyright holders.

Still, it's heartening to see their arguments--and their haughty, moralistic stance--rejected in court.

UPDATE: Just came across this page on the CleanFlicks site:

Are all the titles on your site edited?

CleanFlicks believes that you shouldn't have to worry while you are searching
the site, so all titles shown on the site are edited. There are however some
older titles that have H and D words left in as we did not take these two
words out the first year we were editing.
Are they referring to hell and damn? Hooker and dang? Hemp and Dukakis?

Any other guesses?

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.