MusicDish e-Journal - February 23, 2018
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Protecting Creators & Consumers
By Eric de Fontenay (Founder & Publisher)
(more articles from this author)
2002-09-29
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I was intrigued by the Directors Guild of America's (DGA) legal actions against companies that "perform unauthorized editing of videocassettes and DVDs for distribution and sale without the permission or involvement of the directors who make the films or the studios that own them." The issue again pitches consumers' interest in having access to content otherwise unfriendly to families and director's creativity and control over their works. To some extent, one might wonder why directors & studios don't take the route of musicians in releasing 'radio friendly' as well as the artist's version of the work. There is clearly a demand for 'family friendly' products, why not accede to the demands of the marketplace? Wouldn't this unfang 'family friendly' redistributors?

But unlike the artist that has a choice in releasing a radio friendly version, the case being brought by DGA are against actions taken independently of the director. What is family friendly is entirely in the eye of the beholder and shaped by an untold number of factors. I may like violence but be offended by nudity. You may be shocked by homosexual images but unphased by foul language. The market could therefore support several 'family friendly' versions, each addressing a different mix of taboos - a nightmare for studios.

On the other hand, we do support Clearplay whose technology allows users to skip over objectionable images and sounds and has been targeted by the DGA. The technology accommodates director and studios' right to control the content being distributed for sale while protecting consumers right to control how they use products they've purchased or leased. As stated by ClearPlay CEO Bill Aho: "Banning ClearPlay filters is like trying to ban the fast-forward or mute buttons on your remote control."

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