Thursday, May 04, 2006

An interesting Canadian perspective on the use of video

I was sent this article about a Canadian group that are distributing edited Hollywood video's - interestignly enough one of the people involved thinks this is legal because;
Every edited DVD disc we distribute has an original unedited DVD disc, sitting on our shelves. When someone sells you a movie, it's yours to do anything you like with," he said
Funny becuase as far as production companies are concerned when you buy movie you buy use of not the actual movie to use as you wish....
Full article is below -

By Peter Biggs

"RENT edited Hollywood movies -- no graphic violence, sex scenes, nudity or profanity!"
So reads an advertisement for FamilySafeMovies, a web based movie rental service. Some Christians are rejoicing that at last there is an option for them to watch movies -- which ensures they will not be exposed to harmful, offensive material. Others question the practice.
FamilySafe was started in July 2005 by Rob Anderson. Although the business is based in Alberta, with offices in Calgary and Edmonton, the video rental service is advertised and accessed throughout western Canada and beyond. DVDs are ordered via the website, then sent out and returned by customers using Canada Post. This business model allows for a wide reach, with FamilySafe claiming to have a solid base in Alberta and B.C. and plans to expand into the U.S.
Anderson, a professing Christian, told that he started the company after noticing a similar service in the U.S. "There was nobody doing this in Canada," he said. "My wife and I are tired of the cursing and the violence. People shouldn't have to shut themselves out of society."
Asked exactly how they 'edit' the movies, he described a team of editors who use professional software to make cuts look seamless.
"We don't edit every movie. Some movies, like Brokeback Mountain, are too much to edit; we just don't carry movies like that. Most movies only have between 20 seconds and two minutes cut; occasionally we've cut up to four minutes."
Is it legal?
Along with this business venture, Anderson is completing his training to become a lawyer. "As to legal issues, we purchase original copies of the movies. Every edited DVD disc we distribute has an original unedited DVD disc, sitting on our shelves. When someone sells you a movie, it's yours to do anything you like with," he said.
Currently they distribute around 10 DVDs of each movie. The cost of reproducing a DVD is minimal, thus enabling FamilySafe to easily compete in the rental market.
The practice of editing movies, he conceded, "has been challenged in the US, unsuccessfully. In addition, in Canada things are more lax."
He added confidently: "What we are doing is perfectly legal, and is unlikely to be challenged."
Censoring or fast forwarding?
For some, the greater question is whether it is ethical to take an artist's creation and alter it without their permission. Is this synonymous with censorship? Christians are divided on this.
Canadian scriptwriter Kevin Miller, who writes for Hollywood Jesus, a Christian web site that engages issues of spirituality in the movies, sees things differently. "As for physically altering someone else's artwork to make it more palatable, forget it," he said in an e-mail to "What are these people going to do when confronted by Michelangelo's David? Quickly chisel a pair of pants for him?"
He added: "I'm not saying I like watching sex, violence, and foul language in films. However, I would never avoid a film because it contains such elements. To me, they are incidental to what is really going on in any particular film. I'm much more interested in the artistic/political/social/religious statement in a film. Sometimes a film needs to use graphic elements to make that statement clearly. Contrast is everything in art. It's all about darkness and light, sound and silence, black and white."
FamilySafe's Anderson responded to the question of altering an artist's creation with: "All we are doing is fast forwarding movies for people." He said he believes FamilySafe is merely providing choice. "We try to strike a balance, and have never received a complaint. People can go and rent the original movie from any movie outlet. We are simply giving people choice."
Some argue that movies and shows are already censored on the television. CBC TV spokesperson Ruth Allen told "Any program that airs before 9 pm has inappropriate language edited out by 'dipping the audio.'" She declined to say whether the editing could include the cutting of scenes as well.
Edmonton Alliance church youth pastor Kirsten Glidden frequently uses Familysafe movies -- both at home and for church based youth outreach movie nights. Her church is happy to recommend the service and indeed mentions it in the bulletin in the context of its movie nights. Glidden said she does not see what the fuss is about, regarding censorship.
"I am not a conservative," she said, "but even many Disney movies that are G rated have questionable content."
Asked to cite an example, Glidden said: "Sleeping Beauty, because of how evil and cruel the queen is. Also, Ice Age 2 has a lot of sexual innuendo. I don't like how there is an absence of definition as to who the movie is for. We live in an R-rated world -- and as a church, we should look different, have a higher standard."
She summarized her support of FamilySafe: "I'm a parent. We've got one shot to protect kids from things that could destroy their lives."
Miller conceded: "I realize that James 1:27 says 'keep oneself from being polluted by the world." However, he stressed: "To me, that doesn't mean insulating yourself from the world."
Jesus, he said, "certainly didn't insulate himself from the world. He spent much of his time eating, drinking, and fellowshipping in dens of iniquity. And I'm sure he wasn't wearing earplugs or a blindfold. Eradication or elimination of sin is not the goal of the Christian life. It's about embracing holiness, becoming godly. That may sound like the same thing, but I can assure you it is not. One is human-centred, the other God-centred."

original is at
  • Canadian Christianity
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