Copyright: The House today debates whether to legitimize technology that censors movies on DVD
By Vince Horiuchi
The Salt Lake Tribune
For Mark Kastleman, "Titanic" was not only a disaster epic, but a disaster as a movie-going experience.
"I had my teenage sons with me . . . and everything's going great, and then all of a sudden you have this scene where this woman was topless," said the Cottonwood Heights father of six. "My sons were embarrassed and I was really shocked."
Kastleman and his family have since become fans of edited movies, a controversial subject that will play out in Congress today when the House votes on the Family Movie Act, which would legalize technology that edits DVDs as they are being watched. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, has already passed the Senate.
"This is not about directors or producers," Smith said. "It's about families and parents and the rights of parents to raise their children the way they see fit."
The technology that would be legalized by passage of the Family Movie Act is just one side of a simmering controversy over who has the right to edit copyright material.
The flip side involves companies that purchase movies on DVD or videotape, remove certain scenes and then sell or rent the newly edited movies.
Those companies, many of them based in Utah, are embroiled in litigation over copyright infringement and trademark violation.
Some people say that if the Family Movie Act becomes law, it will bolster the arguments of video editing services or set a precedent for changing other forms of artistic work that can be stored in the digital realm, including books and paintings.
The issue is examined in a new documentary, "Bleep, Censoring Hollywood," which looks at the controversy behind video-editing services.
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