Wednesday, July 12, 2006

CleanFlicks v. Kate Winslet's Breasts

Reason: How Hollywood won a lawsuit while losing a cultural battle:
"I have no problem with gratuitous nudity (is there any other kind in a movie?), foul language, and graphic violence; but I'm squarely on the side of the easily offended CleanFlicks' customers. They are doing precisely what technology is there for: to create the sort of art, music, video, and text that an individual or group of individuals wants to consume.

By all accounts, the CleanFlicks-type outfits weren't ripping off Hollywood in any way, shape, or form—they were paying full fees for content—and they weren't fooling anyone into thinking their versions were the originals; the whole selling point of CleanFlicks' Titanic is that it spared audiences the original movie's brief moment of full-frontal Winslet. CleanFlicks was simply part of a great and liberatory trend in which audiences are empowered to consume culture on their own terms—not the producers'."
For those living in a cave -- a federal judge ruled that cleanflicks' business model is illegal because it violates the copyrights of hollywood directors ... I hate to harp on these intellectual property items, but are you sensing the insanity here? Here's a company that performs a service that any consumer could legally do for himself (make an edited copy of a movie that was legally purchased). They charge a premium for doing the service; everybody wins. The customer is spared the pain and effort of doing the editing himself. Cleanflicks makes a profit. And Hollywood sells movies to people that otherwise wouldn't buy the smutt-laden offerings. Crazy crazy crazy. To paraphrase the BBC, may this judge rot in hell.

1 comment:

Dennis D. McDonald said...

I hate to say it, but this is a real slippery slope issue. Granted, no one should have to look at Kate Winslet's breasts if they don't want to, but a Titanic without Kate Winslet's breasts isn't Titanic. It's something different. Nor is Saving Private Ryan without the graphic violence at the beginning Saving Private Ryan. Nor is Repo Man Repo Man if all utterances of the "f word" are deleted.

While all these movies may be more acceptable to certain viewers than the originals after they are censored, if I'm the artist, director, or writer who has poured blood sweat and tears into their production I am going to resent someone renting these bogus versions out while still calling them by their original titles.

I don't care what you do in the privacy of your home with any movie you purchase or rent. And I completely support your desire to control or monitor what your children watch (I'm a parent, too). But for someone else to make a business of modifying (not just copying, modifying) copyrighted materials without permission of the copyright owner makes a mockery of the copyright law.

This may not trouble you, but as someone who regularly creates intellectual property for distribution, I can assure you a lot of creators, writers, artists, musicians and others care a lot about whether or not how their works are distributed preserves the work they labored to create.