I don't remember anything like this arising before because, in the past,
religious stores like this would simply avoid purchasing certain films; a
minimal loss of revenue to the copyright owners, but a loss nonetheless. But
Mr. CleanVideo is not pirating. He's not stealing. He giving money to the
copyright owners to purchase these individual videos that normally wouldn't
be bought. And his customers (a staggering 500 according to the article --
oh my!) are also throwing cash to the copyright owners to also purchase
films they wouldn't normally buy.
> So, he apparently has a stockpile of the "nonoffensive" versions
> ready to ship on the one hand.
So what? I bet he already paid for every single one, and the money now sits
in the pockets of the copyright owners. You tell me: is that stealing?
Bottom line: Nobody is losing money. Mr. CleanVideo is making money. Maybe
(his operation sounds very labour intensive). The studios are making money
from sales they normally wouldn't receive. The artists are having their
films seen by viewers who may normally have opted to avoid them altogether.
What I do sense from this discussion is a disdain for the morality side of
this issue. But what I admire about the guy is not just that I don't see any
illegal about it (if you want to convince me otherwise, I urge you to find
an act, regulation, amendment -- anything! -- that clearly says this can't
be done) but that he's being upfront. True, Blockbuster sticks to the law
but I can't find anything -- nothing! -- in their company info that
identifies they rent altered versions of certain films. That's deceptive and
fraudulent as far as I'm concerned.
Laugh all you want about a supplier who edits out references to the deity,
but at least he's honest about it.
> How I would feel if I wrote a book that was destined to do well
> in the marketplace, only to find out that someone, without my
> permission, took my book, changed it slightly to make it more to
> their liking, and sold it. I don't think I would like it much,
> and I would take the person to court to stop it.
Publishers do it all the time, but authors can't do anything because they
don't "own" it. Only the publishers can take action in a case like this. And
the only thing that concerns the publishers -- or studios in this case -- is
losing money. They don't give a damn about art. Only commerce (hasn't anyone
figured this out yet?). And what probably upset the people in that Times
article was the assumption -- the same assumption all of us made in the
beginning -- was that the guy was copying the material (i.e. buying one
video and making multiple copies of it). But, if Mr. Cleanvideo is to
believed, that's not the case here.
From: Jessica Rosner [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, February 01, 2001 1:18 PM
To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Re: VERY interesting copyright article
The very definition of copyright is ownership and you can't alter material
without permission. If this were being done strictly for home use obviously
no one would notice but the store is doing them for public rental. Again if
this were legal I could just buy a bunch of legal copies of Disney films and
insert whatever I wanted so long as I had purchased them and then I could
rent them out ?. Sorry but I don't have any sympathy for the guy and for
once I would cheer the MPPA. It goes to the heart of both copyright and
artists rights that you can't alter without permission.
> From: Darryl Wiggers <Darryl.Wiggers@AllianceAtlantis.com>
> Reply-To: email@example.com
> Date: Thu, 1 Feb 2001 09:51:07 -0800 (PST)
> To: Multiple recipients of list <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Subject: RE: VERY interesting copyright article
> Where is it written that one can't alter a legally purchased copy? The
> warning on all my videos only talks about public screenings and copying.
> That's it. Besides, it's not as if he disguising what he's doing. No one
> is interested in purchasing an unedited version would be fooled into
> with this guy...
> According to the Copyright Infringement Act of 1976 "Any person who, with
> fraudulent intent, removes or alters any notice of copyright appearing on
> copy of a copyrighted work shall be fined not more than $2,500." That's
> Only the warning can't be "removed" or "altered." And you can't even claim
> fraud with Mr. CleanVideo. He spells out what is omitted... I can't find
> anything else in the Copyright Infringement Act that suggests that what
> CleanVideo claims he's doing can't be done. Can anyone?
> And let's suppose he is nailed. How is his crime different from a video
> store that sells me a "used" mangled, chewed-up video that's blurry and
> of picture drop-outs. That video has been altered too from its original
> condition. Maybe I can get the MPAA on my local store's case...
> Personally I would never do business with Mr. CleanVideo because I want to
> see my movies unedited. But I'm not convinced that what he's doing is
> illegal, and cannot share in the drooling enthusiasm to have him drawn and
> quartered. I especially don't understand why people seem less bothered by
> corporations who lie, deceive, cheat, overcharge and steal from millions
> consumers than a guy who is openly providing a seemingly legal service
> his community clearly wants.