Next, Legalization of Blindfolds

Hmm, how will the politically correct spin this one? The President has signed into law the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act, a bill that legalizes a device that can be set to filter not-nice content from DVD’s. It works on the hardware side. (See this earlier post.)

Naturally, Hollywood is horrified at its inability — rare — to get a piece of the action:

The legislation came about because Hollywood studios and directors had sued to stop the manufacture and distribution of such electronic devices for DVDp layers. The movies’ creators had argued that changing the content — even when it is considered offensive — would violate their copyrights.

Yell “protect creators” and Hollywood usually gets its way. Here, however, it was up against the cultural (or “religious”) right and “the family” (I’m one of them, by the way. I like the idea that I might be able to make these works kid-friendly, though I’m skeptical it will meet my family’s own standards). Evidently this legislation managed to get painted the colors of apple pie, Mother and baseball and was beyond Tinseltown’s clutches.

Kind of a conundrum for the reactionary left here. On the one hand, this is a blow against the Machine, a content-wants-to-be-free, I-bought-the-damned-DVD-I-didn’t-license-it sort of thing. It’s also ridiculously logical and, really, the height of chutzpah to oppose. Do I need Michael Eisner’s permission to adjust the bass when I watch “Finding Nemo”?

On the other hand, ewww, who’s behind it? The censors, the believers, the witch-hunters! (The hypocrites!) It will be interesting to see how this falls out.

UPDATE: My bad! Erstwhile (for now) lawyer and Tigernet buddy Matthew David Brozik sent me his scholarly article (evidently not available for free on line) in volume 31 of the Rutgers Computer and Technology Journal on this topic, written while the legislation was pending, which he sent to me a few weeks ago. He seems to more or less agree with my headline, writing, “[T]he proposed legislation is unnecessary, as it would only make affirmatively lawful what is now not unlawful.”

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Author:Ron Coleman

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