Who is this man and what is he up to?
The French have a doctrine of the ‘moral rights’ of an artist. I don’t know many of the details but it protects them against certain kinds of bowdlerisation of their works and (I think) is also the platform on which artists generates some income when they have sold their works and they get sold again. It’s a nice idea if you’re sentimental about artists (I’m prepared to be a bit sentimental about them I guess) but I doubt it’s very good law or economics.
In any event, I was amazed to read in slashdot today that this kind of idea has popped up in the endlessly, outrageously, intellectually protectionist and extortionist United States. CBC reports that:
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 Hollywood studios argued the case very much along ‘moral rights’ lines. Michael Apted, the president of the Directors Guild of America was pretty thrilled with the result.
“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.
And the judge hopped in for his chop praising 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. . . . There is a public interest in providing such protection.
So there you go. Personally a service taking the muck out of films would be very handy for me as a parent of an eight and a twelve year old. I’ve been thinking for some time how different things are now compared with a generation or two ago. Then you could go and see pretty much any movie and adult content was ‘encoded’ as it were – the adults knew what was going on and the kids might have been bored, but they were none the wiser. A very good system I reckon. But no longer with us.
Recently we didn’t go to Click – from what I could see a kids movie about someone who had a remote control that could control things other than the tele. Sounded like the kids would like it, but it was rated M, so we didn’t go, not knowing what surprises the M might be warning us about.