The Motion Picture Association of America is unhappy about HR4586, the “Family Movie Act”. The act will allow companies like Clearplay to manufacture software for filtering content from DVDs, without film studios suing over their product being tampered with.
As always, censorship is an emotive issue: parents should have the right to protect their children from inappropriate material… but then perhaps they should be more selective about what finds its way into the DVD player when their kids are parked in front of it?
“The technology my legislation allows does not alter any movie’s violence, sex and profanity,” said Lamar Smith, the Republican sponsoring the bill through Senate. “But it does allow parents to skip over the movie’s violence, sex and profanity. If they choose to designate a technology company to help them accomplish this, more power to them.”
Not being a parent, I’m somewhat baffled here: why would you want to sit your child through a film based around the themes of sex, violence and profanity, even if it is filtered?
Nevertheless, the studios are unhappy about someone else, the consumer with some software, having the final cut on their films. So this is all about artistic integrity is it? No, this is Hollywood.
Jack Valenti, MPAA CEO testified that legislation wasn’t necessary because studios are already working with movie filtering companies and directors to create new, edited versions of popular films that are more family friendly. Of course, having two versions of a film in the shops means more sales for the movie industry, whereas just one version means that it’s the filtering company that makes the money and not the studios.