The Playgoer: A Blow Against Censorship

Custom Search

Monday, July 10, 2006

A Blow Against Censorship

Remember hearing about the underground practice of movie "scrubbing"? That is, when local video rental businesses decided their more wholesome patrons would disapprove of the tasteless and corrupting nudity and bad words in trashy film like...oh, Schindler's List, they decided to digitally just edit the naught bits out. Without telling Steven Spielberg, the studio, or anyone else who actually owns the rights to the film.

These cottage industry censors--calling themselves entrepeneurs in family-friendly entertainment--have rightly been taken to court, and have lost. As Arts Briefly today relates:

Declaring the editing of films to delete objectionable language, sex and violence to be an "illegitimate business," Judge Richard P. Matsch of United States District Court in Denver ordered several companies engaged in such work to turn over their inventory to Hollywood studios. He said that the scrubbing of films hurts studios and directors who own the rights and does "irreparable injury to the creative artistic expression in the copyrighted movies." He ordered three companies named in the suit to stop "producing, manufacturing, creating" and renting the edited movies. Ray Lines, the chief executive of CleanFlicks, one of the companies, said, "We're going to continue the fight." It burns edited movies onto blank discs and sells them over the Internet and to video stories. As many as 90 stores nationwide, about half of them in Utah, buy the CleanFlicks versions, Mr. Lines said.
That's right. These blatant, shameless copywright infringers are "continuing the fight" even though they obviously have no case. I wonder if they're getting some coordinated right-wing/evangelical funding to stir up controversy and get the cause in the papers.

I found a more lengthy treatment over at Canada's CBC (yes, of a US legal story). Apparently Spielberg, Reford, and Scorcese all joined as signatories to the lawsuit.

(Contrapositive was also on this, over the weekend, elucidating further.)

Meanwhile, steer clear of the following video/movie outlets or cable/internet channels: CleanFlicks, Play It Clean Video, CleanFilms.

I leave you with this, from

What content do you edit out?

We edit out:

This includes the B-words, H-word when not referring to the place, D-word, S-
word, F-word, etc. It also includes references to deity (G-word and JC-words
etc.), only when these words are used in a non-religious context.

Graphic Violence
This does not mean all violence, only the graphic depictions of
decapitation, impalements, dismemberment, excessive blood, gore etc.


This refers to male and female front and back nudity.

Sexual Content

This includes language which refers to sexual activity or has sexual connotation. It also includes visual content of a graphic or stimulating nature.

"Visual content of a graphic or stimulating nature." Yup, gotta avoid that in the arts.

1 comment:

Reel Fanatic said...

This ruling is extremely welcome and long overdue ... censorship, in any form, just sucks