“Sanitizing movies on DVD or VHS tape violates federal copyright laws, and several companies that scrub films must turn over their inventory to Hollywood studios, an appeals judge ruled.”
One more example of how established businesses in their ignorance and arrogance can stifle innovation and competition at the expense of not only consumers, but themselves.
ClearPlay, another Utah company has skirted the entire issue by selling a customized DVD player that has filters on it for movies. The DVD can come from anywhere and never gets modified, but between the DVD and your TV it is “edited” on the fly so that what you see is different than what is on the DVD. The benefit is that you aren’t forced to see the movie the way it was edited by someone else, but you can choose to filter out just violence, or just sex, or just swearing. There are actually a lot more options than just those.
The superiority of ClearPlay came home to me when I rented Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind from CleanFlicks once. They completely ruined the movie. I don’t think that hurts the movie industry at all, but that was the last time I rented something from CleanFlicks. I think they cut out about an hour of the film and switched things around so much that it didn’t make sense at all.
With ClearPlay all it edited out was the swearing and some other mildly objectionable content, but nothing that changed the core story. With ClearPlay I was able to enjoy watching the movie, and ClearPlay has edited things so well that you almost don’t notice that it’s happening. That is, something gets cut but you don’t know it was cut, or swearing is removed but you can’t even tell. That isn’t to say you can’t if you’re trying to notice or that you never notice the editing, but they do a pretty ______ good job.
But here’s a novel idea, why doesn’t Hollywood just edit movies themselves? With DVDs they could offer multiple versions of a film. They could even create different scenes for the different versions. Then consumers could choose which version they wanted to watch. Hollywood could even offer different versions at the theater. Since R-rated movies tend to make less money than G movies, you would think this would be a financially attractive alternative for the studios, and fairly simple to implement. This way profits could be maximized, and a director’s “artistic sensibilities” could be respected.
So why don’t the studios do this? Either they have an agenda to push sex, violence, and swearing, or their artistic sensibilities are such that they don’t believe Crash would be a good movie without all those f-bombs. Either way, they’re out of touch with their consumer base which might explain some of the problems theaters and the studios have had in the last few years, and they’re ignoring a heap of money. But what’s new? If the studios were only in it for the money they’d make more G-rated movies.