John Kushiner sends me a note about a service that "cleans up" movies by filtering out sex and violence. I know this is not entirely new, but readers may be interested to know about it or be reminded about it. Movie-makers are not happy about it.
Some of the dissenters say that you shouldn't be able to modify a movie because you didn't create it. ClearPlay's angle is that they filter out sex and violence scenes in a movie that you've purchased or rented. They're not filtering it out and then selling it - they're selling a special DVD player with software that knows what to filter out.
Here's the link.
I think the opposition is misplaced as well. Publishers might object to a little booklet I might be able to get at a bookstore if it told me which paragraphs to avoid in a novel. Or say that I paid the bookstore owner who supported the idea to line out offensive material. I can understand the publisher (and author) being upset. But, really, there is nothing inherently wrong (or illegal I would think) in such a service. When you watch a movie on VHS, you can fast forward through offensive material as well, or skip some scenes on a DVD. Or watch the movie backwards. They can't tell you how to watch the movie or how to read the book.
They will likely try to come up with a counter technology, but John, who works in programming, points out that technology designed to block other technology usually lags well behind. Which reminds me, before I go, of a news story that I saw a couple of weeks ago about new little gizmo you can put on a key chain that will turn off any television set you aim it at. Like the ones in waiting rooms. If you're alone it's a no-brainer. If others are there watching the afternoon soaps, it might be very tempting. Who would know? The TV just "went out."