Senate Passes Anti-Camcorder / Pro Censorship Bill

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Pat Frank, Feb 3, 2005.

  1. Pat Frank

    Pat Frank Stunt Coordinator

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    The Senate finally passed FECA Tuesday night. For those not familiar, it makes it a crime to use a camcorder in a movie theater, punishable by up to three years in prison. Unfortunately it also shields from copyright-infringement suits any company that deletes scenes depicting acts of violence or sex from the movie to make them more "family friendly".

    The act originally passed last year but died in between houses. The same could happen this year, or it could end up passing the House.
     
  2. Anthony Wolfe

    Anthony Wolfe Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm not sure I understand that last part.

    Is it saying that any company who cuts a part of thier movie due to censorship is not able to sue someone who brings a camcorder into the movie theaters?
     
  3. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    He's saying the law will make it a crime to carry a camcorder into a theater (technically, it already is, it's just harder to prosecute theft of property claims in that manner)

    At the same time, the legislation proposes "immunities" instances were people are immune from prosecution under this law (which also handles illegal duplication issues, etc.) amongst those exempt from prosecution are companies who seek to alter "R" or "PG-13" movies by editing them.

    This also extends to DVD players with technology that "mutes" certain words, etc.. (several are available right now)
     
  4. Anthony Wolfe

    Anthony Wolfe Stunt Coordinator

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    WHAT!

    'At the same time, the legislation proposes "immunities" instances were people are immune from prosecution under this law (which also handles illegal duplication issues, etc.) amongst those exempt from prosecution are companies who seek to alter "R" or "PG-13" movies by editing them.

    This also extends to DVD players with technology that "mutes" certain words, etc.. (several are available right now)'

    immunities from being prosecuted, this means INDIVIDUALS?

    so why are companies EXEMPT from prosecution?
     
  5. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Lead Actor

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    I suspect that when challenged, that part of the law will not hold up. It's not fair use to alter to alter a book or a film or a recording and then sell it, as these companies that provide different versions of films do.

    Either way, IMO, it's an abomination of a law.
     
  6. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    I'm not going to defend the law or idea here, just the reasoning for the sake of the debate [​IMG]

    The argument is:

    Those using camcorders in a theater, etc. are in clear violation of the US Copyright laws and have paid no licencing fees for content being distributed.

    The argument made for those that alter the film and redistribute is that the studio itself receives the same royalty for each copy distributed.. an original copy must be purchased and altered first and the product is now the property of the end user to be altered as seen fit.
     
  7. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Lead Actor

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    That may be, but unless the user is buying multiple copies of the source film to alter, they will be distributing copies of a film they bought one copy of. That's as illegal as you or me buying a copy of something, making a minor change, and selling copies of it.

    If they are buying multiple copies and altering them, aren't they producing another version of the film? That seems to me a violation of copyright law the same way George Lucas could claim The Phantom Edit was a violation.
     
  8. Pat Frank

    Pat Frank Stunt Coordinator

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    The point is that the law would allow distributors and potentially even theater chain owners to alter the content of movies at will without so much as leaving a few bucks on the dresser.

    It's worth noting here that the studios are *supporting* this legislation. Apparently it's more important to them to increase their profits (since arguably the cameras and downloads haven't hurt sales, which are at record levels) than to worry about unauthorized editing in the projection booth.

    Movie *creators* (actors, directors, producers, etc), on the other hand, seem conspicuously quiet this time around.
     
  9. Jason Adams

    Jason Adams Supporting Actor

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    Roger Jason Adams
    Correct me if i'm wrong here...

    But would that mean that bootleggers who record from theaters could get off by editing nudity and language?
     
  10. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    No. The way the law is worded, a valid copy must be purchased to authorize any alteration.

    Primarily, this portion exists because already shipping, right now, are tons of DVD players with technolgy that "mutes" words, etc. (you can buy them at walmart, etc. we've had threads on them) and because services do offer this..

    Now, how does that work? Well, right now, on VHS, they edit the one copy they handle..

    I am in no way saying I endorse this idea nor am I trying to support it (I think such concept is ludicris) but just trying to explain what they are getting at.

    As to the camcorders in the theater; movie studios are very worried about this as newer, smaller camcorders are able to capture very effectively and new internet technologies.. like BitTorrent distribute them. See the shut down of BitTorrent sites like SuprNova.Org, etc.
     
  11. Lynda-Marie

    Lynda-Marie Supporting Actor

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    I'm still trying to figure out why anyone would want a bootleg that was recorded while in the movie theater?

    I guess there's the cheap ass thrills of thumbing one's nose at "The Man", not to mention, saving a few bucks by not going to the theater.

    But, in all honesty, the picture/sound quality would be in the toilet; then you would have a RECORDING of the twits on their cell phones, screaming babies, or the morons who can't RESIST gabbing throughout the movie.

    I seem to recall watching "What's Happening!" years ago, when some thugs forced Rog, Rerun and Dwayne to record a Doobie Brothers concert. Rog, Rerun and Dwayne were caught, they told the authorities what had happened and helped set a trap for the bootleggers. Then all the bootleggers had for their trouble was jail time and a recording of Rerun chowing down on some popcorn, and nothing of the concert.

    ***********************

    As for the censorship angle, it was one thing my dad never understood about Americans. WHAT did Americans feel they needed protection from? Didn't they understand the freedoms they had? No one was forcing them to watch a movie or TV show, they weren't required to listen to a radio broadcast, nor were guns being held to their heads to force them to look at pornographic images or read offensive books.

    Dad survived the Nazi AND Communist regimes in his native Czechoslovakia, and could not understand why, with all of the freedoms here in the US which were unreal to him after his upbringing, people would insist on censoring something "offensive". His stance on that was surprisingly liberal, "If you don't like it, change the channel or turn it off!"

    My personal take on it is if a DVD is family-friendlied down, I won't buy it. I'll wait for a director's cut or unrated release.

    Who makes the decisions as to what is "offensive" or "family friendly"? Shouldn't that be up to responsible people making intelligent, informed decisions? Shouldn't parents be taking an active role in the upbringing of their children to teach them right from wrong, or what is appropriate for them to watch at such and such an age?

    Don't get me wrong, I am not out to say that everything is all right for kids. There are some things in entertainment that are too intense for them, or that perhaps might be better to wait until they understand better to see, if they should see it at all. But I don't think such decisions should be taken from parents, and put in the hands of Congress or the Senate. Warning labels that something might be too intense for kids, or offensive, fine. The label is there. Ignore it at your peril. Caveat Emptor.

    I find it more offensive that someone is telling me that I am too stupid to make up my own mind as to what is offensive, or what my children [if I had any] should or should not watch. The most offensive thing I find out of all of this is that the government is taking things into its own hands, and presumes, because we are all so stupid anyway, that it needs to protect us from ourselves.
     
  12. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    Lynda-Marie:
    None of your objections are being invoked with this bill. The technology talked about here DOES put these choices in the hands of the parents. The government is in no way involved in censoring or altering the films, and neither are the studios. Whether we think it's a good idea to allow a third party to make edits to another's work is a different story.
     
  13. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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    That doesn't matter. Congress isn't bound by Fair Use (as it currently exists, it's a creation of theirs in the first place), and Fair Use is not the Constitutional limit of exceptions to copyright infringement. The U.S. Copyright Act contains a whole host of exceptions to copyright infringement, and this would be no different than any of them. Congress has the full power to pass such a modification to the Copyright Act. Congress is bound by the Constitution, and I doubt this be violative of their powers under it.

    DJ
     

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