The Directors Guild of America may take legal action against companies that sell edited versions of films with the sex and gore taken out. Most of these companies are in Utah and sell censoring software or already-altered videos and DVDs which have graphic language, sexual content and violence removed. The DGA says altering movies amounts to censorship, as well as unauthorized alteration of copyrighted content, because directors' names remain on the films, but their work has been changed.
Steven Soderbergh, who directed ?Traffic,? says, "It is unconscionable, and unethical, to take someone else's hard work, alter it and profit from it. Would anyone even attempt to defend ripping pages out of a book, leaving the author's name on it and then selling it?"
So far, major video outlets haven?t picked up on the trend. "Blockbuster Video has no plans to carry these products," says spokesman Blake Lugash. "We don't edit or censor any of the films we carry in our store and we try to carry the theatrical versions." The companies that provide altered versions of films say they're providing consumers with alternatives. "Everyone knows what is going on when moaning and groaning is happening, but some people don't want to see it," says Richard Schmer, of Family Shield Technologies. "It's like when burlesque was big, and everyone wore pasties; our product is like software pasties. I wonder how much Michelangelo bitched when they put fig leaves on his statue?we all know what's under the fig leaf."
DGA spokesman Carol Stogsdill says, "?Once software enters the marketplace, someone will figure out how to alter that program for other purposes. If a program can slap a blouse on Kate Winslet in ?Titanic,? someone could also alter the technology to take her clothes off. And how would that play in Utah?"
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