My view: Hollywood vs. families: the sequel

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  • darjen Cleveland, OH
    March 6, 2017 8:14 a.m.

    1. You don't have the freedom to edit someone else's work and re-sell it for a profit. That is not how freedom works.

    2. Hollywood is not forcing you to watch their films. If you don't like their content, you can choose not to watch it.

  • Laura Billington Maple Valley, WA
    March 5, 2017 9:12 a.m.

    NoNames wrote, "It is as if a baker or photographer included an anti-homosexual sticker on every cake and photograph and then sued to prevent homosexual couples from removing these stickers after the product was purchased. "

    Interesting analogy. But you forgot a detail. This action would be legal if the baker / photographer put these anti-homosexual stickers on EVERY cake and photograph that he sold--which of course includes cakes and photos sold to straight couples---and then sued to prevent every couple from removing them after the purchase.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    March 5, 2017 9:03 a.m.

    Mr. Aho wrote, "VidAngel's sale-buyback model was its best effort to filter streaming movies within the law--under the fair use provisions of the Copyright Act."

    Come on, now. You can't sell something you don't own. If, on a given night, VidAngel was going to stream Movie X to 100 households, it would have to legally buy 100 copies of Movie X from the studio, then charge each of those households $20 PLUS sales tax of $1.37. If the 101st person asked for it, they would have had to turn them down. When VidAngel "bought them back" the next day, they would have had to pay $1.30 sales tax on the sale, and then remit $2.67 to the state of Utah for every single sale and buy back.

    They didn't do that.

    "One judge disagreed and that decision is under appeal."

    You're implying one out of many. At the first level, whether it's criminal or civil or traffic court, there is only one judge. And "under appeal" doesn't mean that you have much of a case; anybody with enough money to pay for the filing fee can appeal any decision.

  • MAYHEM MIKE Salt Lake City, UT
    March 5, 2017 8:37 a.m.

    I can't help believe that there is some hypocrisy in patrons who want to watch a movie that has been edited to remove sex, vulgarity, or violence. They may take comfort that they have blocked the offensive material from entering their homes or being viewed by their families, but, nevertheless, by watching or buying an edited movie, they still have patronized those who created and committed the sexual, vulgar, or violent scenes.

    True renunciation of smut requires that one not patronize it or its creators, either in its original or edited form.

  • cmsense Kaysville, UT
    March 5, 2017 7:44 a.m.

    It would be nice if there were some rogue studio that would authorize edited for tv versions or edited for airline versions. Really, the expense of editing has already been done. There seems to be a demand there as these other companies feel they can make money at it. They should cut out the middle man and offer it themselves and with their own preffered timing.

    Even if its a niche market, what could be the harm? The curiousity isn't that there are some artist or studios that don't think it is a good idea, but that why doesn't there seem to be a few "artist" or studios that would let their work be cleaned up etc and sold as such, for a profit of course.

    We see "unedited", "extended " or releases of the "unrated" versions of movies and that apparently has some sort of artistic merit that the studios seem to be ok with.

    They authorize edited versions for TV or airlines. If they have already released edited versions, what sort of high ground are they trying to protect, and why doesn't a single studio partner with such a streaming service to pad their balance sheet? What is the harm? There is so much content out there, give people more choice and pay the artist for it.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    March 5, 2017 4:16 a.m.

    This is not my area of expertise, but it seems to me that the concept of owning a copyright on intellectual property is not just about controlling the content. It is primarily about being entitled to the revenue streams associated with intellectual property.

    "Hollywood" movie makers (that's a broad term) clearly allow filtering for airlines, but they receive the revenues. In principle, their argument centers around their receiving the revenues from any modifications made to their IP. In short, they are fighting to protect IP "turf" on which these filtering companies have "tresspassed".

    I don't see that as morally or legally repugnant, and certainly not "anti-family"! It is what any creator of IP can and should do, including the Church's Intellectual Reserve.

  • Light and Liberty St. George/Washington, UT
    March 4, 2017 7:35 p.m.

    What I can't figure out is why Hollywood doesn't view me as a valuable commodity and yet, my wallet is always open to a movie that appeals to all my senses, doesn't offend my wit, my intellect, my spirit, and will entertain me. Hollywood fails on most accounts and thus doesn't get my money. Vidangel drew me in because I could cut out the political correctness, the obscenity, vulgarity, and the waste of time on scenes and thoughts that are not only offensive to smart, clever, and witty character and dialogue, but to entertainment. On second thought, without Hollywood's approval or disapproval, I have a life. Thus, here I sit, being able to have a life that includes family, work, service, exercise, fun, and an actual conversation with my neighbor that doesn't include the latest farce, sports hero, or progressive fad. Maybe I am better off without Hollywood knowing I would spend hundreds of dollars a year, if they knew how to make a descent movie.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    March 4, 2017 7:29 p.m.

    @baho;
    "It really is nice to have comments on my op-ed--even when they are antagonistic. Nice to see the thoughtful exercise of free speech."

    It doesn't matter what you think about the comments. It's the law and the courts that keep your actions illegal.

  • Baho Salt Lake City, UT
    March 4, 2017 6:39 p.m.

    It really is nice to have comments on my op-ed--even when they are antagonistic. Nice to see the thoughtful exercise of free speech.

    I won't get involved in any back-and-forth arguments, but will address one question that came up several times:

    The bill language currently being considered by Congress specifically disallows the business model the studios have found objectionable. Filtering services (VidAngel, ClearPlay or others) would ride on top of user subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon, etc. There would be no economic harm to the studios or distributors.

    Of note, this more traditional model was proposed to multiple studios prior to the lawsuit, but was not accepted. VidAngel's sale-buyback model was its best effort to filter streaming movies within the law--under the fair use provisions of the Copyright Act. One judge disagreed and that decision is under appeal. However, the proposed legislation and technological solution would make the business model issue irrelevant.

    If Hollywood's problem really is the business model, it should support the update of the FMA.

  • David R Northern, MI
    March 4, 2017 6:05 p.m.

    I personally really liked the vidangel service. I hope it can be saved.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    March 4, 2017 5:38 p.m.

    @NoNamesAccepted

    This case is not even remotely related to baker, photographers, and homosexuality.

    Take the time to read the complaint. The case has zero to do with filtering.

  • Selznik Saint George, UT
    March 4, 2017 4:36 p.m.

    If you don't like the content of a movie don't watch. Creative people who make movies have a right to have their creations protected. Let the free market address demand. (Isn't that the classic conservative approach?) And as someone else has said, just produce your own family friendly content. Don't whine because Hollywood won't listen to you.

  • Curtis Hight Anchorage, AK
    March 4, 2017 3:10 p.m.

    [continued from above]

    I think the copyright holders have legal precedent, but they seem dishonorable when they allow airlines to show cleaned up editions of movies, but won’t release these same editions to the general public with the rationale expressed in this comment:

    “U.S. District Judge Richard P. Matsch issued his decision Thursday, ending a three-year court battle. In his 16-page ruling, Matsch said cutting language, sex and violence causes ‘irreparable injury to the creative artistic expression in the copyrighted movies’ and referred to the businesses as ‘illegitimate.’”
    ___

    Now back to the present, read James Durston, “Inside the billion-dollar, super-censored inflight movie industry,” CNN, August 25, 2014, for more information on licensing arrangements for inflight movies.

  • Curtis Hight Anchorage, AK
    March 4, 2017 3:09 p.m.

    @ Misty Mountain
    I third the call from you and JoeBlow for more information. Your comment regarding airlines is one of the dynamics of this discussion.

    Ironically, 11 years ago I composed a letter to two friends on this topic but I never got around to completing and sending it. The letter has been sitting in my email Drafts folder ever since. Now it’s coming to you straight from July 10, 2006! :-)
    ___
    Amelia Nielson-Stowell, “CleanFlicks plans to appeal ruling,” Deseret News, July 9, 2006.

    I don’t think either side sounds very honorable. I thought the quote below was striking with the attitude of entitlement that is expressed, and the attitude of dependence on the watching of Hollywood productions.

    “Daniel Thompson, owner of the four CleanFlicks shops in Utah County. ‘I think it’s ridiculous that you can’t watch a movie without seeing sex, nudity or extreme violence. I don’t understand why they’re trying to keep that in there.’”

    [continued below]

  • Janet Ontario, OR
    March 4, 2017 2:29 p.m.

    Although my husband and I are empty nesters and movie buffs, we try to exercise self-control about what we watch. Now and then, we see a movie advertised that looks really good, but we skip it because of the R rating and the reasons given for the R rating. Later by a year or more, we catch the movie when it's been edited for TV. Rarely are we impressed. The comedy is still sophomoric, or the drama is still relentlessly depressing. Also, the censorship is so obvious as to call attention to language, either because a word is replaced by a silly substitute or because it's easy to lip read what the character actually said. Unfortunately, rough language and explicit discussions are pervasive in our culture and mirrored in our visual media. We have to draw the line for ourselves and our families and do our best to practice what we believe. It would be great if we had more media creators who were both highly skilled and determined to stay out of the gutter, but there have been some excellent movies lately -- enough that a busy family that sees a movie together every week shouldn't have time to worry about the other stuff.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    March 4, 2017 11:56 a.m.

    Hollywood is a wasteland for the most part best avoided like a deep crevass on a tall mountain trail not only for kids but adults as well. I think perhaps 10% of the movies each year are fit to pay your $8 and popcorn for. The other 90% reflect the godless valueless PC braindead trash that is the Holywood culture today. Again better to read a book or get some excercise instead.

  • Daedalus, Stephen ARVADA, CO
    March 4, 2017 11:09 a.m.

    Protect Family Rights does itself no favors with this self-contradicting fear-mongering.

    The author repeatedly references "rights" under the existing Family Movie Act of 2005 that have been "all but lost" due to the "predatory" and "decei[tful]" tactics of Hollywood.

    If such "rights" are in fact granted under the FMA, VidAngel can and should confidently proceed to trial, and appeal any adverse decisions at the district court or appellate levels. So far, the courts are not finding the "rights" that Mr. Aho repeatedly assures readers are in the current FMA.

    But Mr. Aho does not appear to believe his own spin about these "rights". He concedes as much by advocating an "update the Family Movie Act to protect streamed movies."

    So which is it?

    Is VidAngel in the right, and the courts thus far have it wrong, as to what is permitted under the current FMA/Copyright Act?

    Or is VidAngel in the wrong under the current FMA/Copyright Act, but Congress should amend the FMA to allow for VidAngel's business model and methods?

    By taking both positions, Protect Family Rights undermines its effort to persuade readers as to its position.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    March 4, 2017 10:26 a.m.

    @Impartial

    And if there is a huge demand for cakes, photographers, and reception centers for homosexual events, go start tour own business to cater to them.

    Oh, but that is different, isnt it?

    When it is your favored agenda, laws forcing people to cater to others are acceptable to you. When it is a different agenda, you oppoae laws.

    Notably, nothing in current law forces studios to cater to anyone. The law simply allows consumers to remove content they dont like after the purchase or rent a movie, habing paid the studio for their product. But the studios are doing everthing possible to keep consumers from doing so.

    It js as if a baker or photographer included an anti-homosexual sticker on every cake and photograph and then sued to prevent homosexual couples from removing these stickers after the product was purchased.

    "This is what we sell, most like it, and if you don't you can go start your own business," would not mollify you in the least on that case.

    Sometimes, hypocrisy reveals rank bigotry. This is one such case.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    March 4, 2017 9:52 a.m.

    Simple solution. If there's such a huge demand for "clean" movies- make them. Round up all those, that want to alter other's work to suit their sensibilities, and invest heavily in a production studio and crank out all those family movies. There should be tons of people waiting in line, cash in hand, to see/purchase them. Right? Or maybe there's not a global market that feels the need to only view G rated movies?

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    March 4, 2017 7:01 a.m.

    Ever heard of Fabianism? Wolves in sheep clothes that move as slow as a turtle. If they can't persuade you they will persuade your kid, and if not them their kid. They have an agenda. It's not good. Keep the faith, know and remember the first Commandment. The others are about behavior.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    March 4, 2017 5:49 a.m.

    OK, so I read the article and wonder "whats the big deal? Why would the studios care".

    Because it all seems pretty reasonable. So I did some checking. I was surprised that the author, Bill Aho, left out a pretty major piece.

    Here is an excerpt of what I found.

    "Disney, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. Entertainment, who went after VidAngel not because of its filtering technology per se, but rather because of a business model the studios posed as disrupting the home video market."

    In a nutshell, here is VidAngel's model. Sell the movie to the consumer, say for $20, let them watch it with filtered content, and then sell it back to VidAngel for $19.

    Why was this issue not mentioned in the article?

    Shame on you Mr Aho. Your article was slanted to the point of dishonesty.

  • Misty Mountain Kent, WA
    March 4, 2017 5:35 a.m.

    "VidAngel repeatedly requested a license to stream content from the studios, proposing various approaches and business models. The studios’ response: not interested at any price."

    Some details, about these "various approaches and business models", please. And some documentation for that alleged "not interested at any price" response. It does seem strange that airlines have no trouble getting filtered copies streamed to their passengers, but that VidAngel was out of luck?

    And please explain "Because ClearPlay has no more new DVD players available and can no longer filter new streamed movies, and with VidAngel enjoined, the rights granted to families by the FMA are all but lost. " Your local WalMart has four different brands of DVD players for sale. Did somebody pass a law saying that ClearPlay isn't allowed to buy them and modify them to accept your filtering services?

    You also said nothing about the sale-buyback program of VidAngel, which the Court saw as an unlicensed streaming service. You were a consultant to VidAngel. Did you agree with this program?