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Studios Sue to Stop Family-friendly DVD Film Cuts... Again.

by November 17, 2010
Dont Copy That DVD!

Don't Copy That DVD!

A coalition of major studios including Paramount, Warner Bros., MGM, Disney, Universal and Fox has filed a lawsuit against a defendant who has taken DVD movies such as "Iron Man 2," "The Hurt Locker," "Prince of Persia" and "Date Night," altered them to be free of objectionable content, redistributing them to consumers as "family-friendly." The lawsuit was filed on Thursday in Arizona District Court against Family Edited DVDS, Inc. and its leader, John Webster.

The studios claim that the reproduction of the films violates their exclusive copyrights. Further, the plaintiffs allege that the defendant is selling its films in DVD-R format, which they say strips away copyright protection measures and makes them "highly vulnerable to further unauthorized copying and other forms of infringement."

The studios are requesting permanent injunctive relief.

Seven years ago, Hollywood battled DVD sanitizers including CleanFlicks, CleanFilms, Family Flix USA, and Play it Clean Video. In July, 2006, a federal judge ruled that santized DVDs were an infringement on the copyrights of the original films and ordered the businesses to turn over their inventory. At the time, the defendants pledged to appeal, but they never did. Back then, some lawmakers believed that households should have the ability to skip objectionable content in films. In 2005, the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act was passed into law, which allowed manufacturers of special products such as ClearPlay DVD players and their users an exemption from copyright liability for skipping the adult material. Few lawyers think the legislation allowed re-distribution of altered DVDs, however.

Family Edited DVDs couldn't be reached for comment. Judging by the appearance of their website, the company may have seen this lawsuit coming. It is currently advertising a "liquidation" sale, telling its customers to get edited DVDs while they still can.

While we don't advocate any kind of copyright infringement and are quick to jump on the anybody bucking the slow-moving, litigious masses of the studios, in this case they might be in the right. It's hard to see how re-cutting and redistributing movie content on DVD-R format is legal in any sense of the term, though in principle we like what's being offered, and wish that "family-friendly" was pushed as hard as the soon-to-be-doomed 3D Blu-ray format. In this particular case, it appears that someone was possibly attempting to make a quick buck and knew full well what they were going had already been ruled illegal in previous court cases. There are ways, to be sure, where we feel this should be legal - in a service format, for instance (which also was ruled illegal) but that's another story.

About the author:

Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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Recent Forum Posts:

3db posts on December 15, 2010 06:33
malvado78, post: 773901
Yeah lets not go there again. I think its a we agree to disagree….

Ahh The pirate's code!!
malvado78 posts on December 14, 2010 15:26
sm31, post: 773857
Seems like there could be a real business opportunity for studios here…

Why not market “PG” versions of some of their more popular PG-13 and maybe even R rated (R movies that may appeal to younger viewers… like Terminator 2 or whatever) fare? It would be easy enough since the studios already know all about the audience demographics for each movie they release.

Wait a reasonable amount of time, then pop PG edited versions on the market about the same time as the special edition discs show up.

After all, they do it for TV already.

edit: eesh.. never mind. didn't realize the thread was this long. Probably already been said 10x over.
Yeah lets not go there again. I think its a we agree to disagree….
sm31 posts on December 14, 2010 13:10
Seems like there could be a real business opportunity for studios here…

Why not market “PG” versions of some of their more popular PG-13 and maybe even R rated (R movies that may appeal to younger viewers… like Terminator 2 or whatever) fare? It would be easy enough since the studios already know all about the audience demographics for each movie they release.

Wait a reasonable amount of time, then pop PG edited versions on the market about the same time as the special edition discs show up.

After all, they do it for TV already.

edit: eesh.. never mind. didn't realize the thread was this long. Probably already been said 10x over.
mtrycrafts posts on November 23, 2010 18:36
malvado78, post: 768370
Ok but I can get an image of David cover up his man parts and rerelease as art myself…

Of course that too would be art but that is not how it was done. Michelangelo could have made a number of different ones of David but he didn't for whatever reason.
Some films are rated and later also released to DVD unrated. But, that is up to the makers, not someone in the public stealing it and redoing someone else's creation. Ain't this fun
malvado78 posts on November 23, 2010 13:25
Pyrrho, post: 768348
Perhaps that is because you are viewing it as only a moneymaking product. Some people make movies as an artistic expression, and so they want it in a particular way. If Michelangelo had mass produced copies of his David, do you think he might object to them being altered into something else because some prude objected to nudity? Even if there was a market for them? The same idea applies to some films. And it also applies to films that are crap, as well as great ones, because being crap does not mean that it isn't the artistic expression of its maker(s). (Some artists are much better than others, but the bad art produced by bad artists is still art, and represents the artistic vision of those artists.)

Not every filmmaker is a total whore just out to make money. And so they are not going to be willing to change it just because there is a market for it. Some films are not designed for children, and many filmmakers do not want small children seeing their films.

Ok but I can get an image of David cover up his man parts and rerelease as art myself…
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