Your Handy Home Censorship Kit
By Zack Pelta-Heller, AlterNet. Posted May 26, 2005.
Imagine watching When Harry Met Sally without Meg Ryan's orgasmic deli
scene, or The Shining without Jack Nicholson uncovering the horrors of
Room 237. Imagine watching The Godfather, only Jack Woltz never wakes
to a bloody horse head.
To true cinephiles, the absence of such iconic moments might ruin these
films completely. To directors and Hollywood studios, such
modifications are gross violations of copyright laws and artistic
visions. Yet to Bill Aho, CEO of ClearPlay, these classic scenes
epitomize the kind of degenerate sex, violence and foul language of
Hollywood entertainment that consumers should have the power to purge
from their movies.
"It's really a matter of personal choice in your home," Aho told me.
"Should you have the right to experience media your way, or should the
preferences of the director follow you into the living room?"
Aho is not alone. Bowing to the growing number of Americans who demand
"family-friendly" entertainment, President Bush signed the Family
Entertainment and Copyright Act (FECA) a couple of weeks ago. On the
whole, this legislation benefits Hollywood by making it a federal crime
to videotape films in movie theaters. FECA also imposes stiff penalties
of up to 10 years in prison for anyone caught distributing movies or
songs prior to their commercial release dates. The part that has the
Directors Guild of America (DGA) up in arms, however, is the
controversial Family Movie Act.