To remind everyone, the Act created an exemption in copyright law that allowed companies to create filtering software for movies on DVD. So if you bought or rented a film that had content the company considered objectionable, such as foul language, excessive violence, or nudity, the software would cause those section to be skipped when you played the DVD.
At the time, we had a lot of good, respectful debate on whether or not this was a good idea, and I pointed out why I myself felt uncomfortable with the concept.
Well, I'm not the only one uncomfortable with the idea of companies "sanitizing" films.. So is Judge Richard P. Matsch. Last Thursday, in Denver, Colorado, he ruled that selling an edited version of a film is an "illegitimate business." However, his ruling seems to be aimed solely at companies that sell an actual new version of the film, rather than those that create software to used with a licensed copy. For example, ClearPlay, which creates software filters, issued this press release, which reminds people that what their company does is protected by the Act. The companies named in the lawsuit, such as CleanFilms and CleanFlicks, would buy a new copy of the movie for each edited one they sold, a way to avoid accusations of piracy.
I'm fascinated to see what happens next...
Copyright © Michael Burstein