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« on: July 10, 2006, 05:05:09 PM »

Axing sex, swearing from films violates copyright: court

Last Updated Sun, 09 Jul 2006 10:47:31 EDT
CBC Arts

Deleting swearing, sex and violence from films on DVD or VHS violates copyright laws, a U.S. judge has ruled in a decision that could end controversial sanitizing done for some video-rental chains, cable services and the internet.

The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit brought by 16 U.S. directors including Steven Spielberg, Robert Redford and Martin Scorsese against three Utah-based companies that "scrub" films.

Judge Richard P. Matsch decreed on Thursday in Denver, Colo., that sanitizing movies to delete content that may offend some people is an "illegitimate business."

The judge also praised the motives of the Hollywood studios and directors behind the suit, ordering the companies that provide the service to hand over their inventories.

"Their objective ... is to stop the infringement because of its irreparable injury to the creative artistic expression in the copyrighted movies," the judge wrote. "There is a public interest in providing such protection."

The act of sanitizing films began in 1998 when one company, Sunrise Family Video, started deleting the scenes showing a nude Kate Winslet from the blockbuster Titanic.

Quote from: Judge Richard P. Matsch
Film sanitizing causes 'irreparable injury to the creative artistic expression in the copyrighted movies.'

Several other companies, mostly in Utah, quickly sprang up to follow its lead and there are currently an estimated 90 film scrubbing companies in the United States.

Directors applaud ruling against 'unauthorized editing'

Michael Apted, the president of the Directors Guild of America, said directors could feel vindicated by the decision.

"These films carry our name and reflect our reputations. So we have great passion about protecting our work ... against unauthorized editing," said Apted in a statement on the guild's website.

"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."

Scrubbing companies vow to continue fight

Matsch ordered the companies named in the suit CleanFlicks, Play It clean Video and CleanFilms to immediately stop producing, creating and renting out the scrubbed films.

"We're disappointed," said Ray Lines, the head of CleanFlicks. "This is a typical case of David vs. Goliath, but in this case, Hollywood rewrote the ending. We're going to continue to fight."

Axing sex, swearing from films violates copyright: court

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