Posted in Miscelaneous Musings

Movie Content Filters

In the last few years, a couple of small businesses that specialized in producing censored versions of popular movies were forced to shut down by several prestigious movie directors.  The business owners were mostly religious or ideologically conservative family men and women who wanted to be able to share the redeeming qualities of films like Titanic and Schindler’s List with their families without exposing them to inappropriate content.  I think this was a noble cause, but to my understanding, the reason Hollywood wasn’t happy about this was because these businesses were then selling and renting their own censored copies of the movies and making their own profit from this.

Personally, I think that producing censored (or filtered) movies for conservative households is such a niche market, and movie directors make so much money as it is from (among other things) less-conscientious moviegoers/renters/watchers that they really wouldn’t be losing much money if they’d let these folks be, but that’s just my opinion.

According to Wikipedia’s page on re-edited film (if you choose to read the entire article, proceed at your own risk), there are primarily two ways to edit a film.

Manual re-editing

Purchased film content is downloaded onto an editing work station hard drive and third-party editors manually re-edit the video and audio tracks, removing objectionable content. The re-edited version is then copied onto media (VHS or DVD) and made available for rental or purchase provided an original version has been purchased in correlation with the re-edited copy. Some manual re-edits are done by fans … to cut a film to their own -or their peers- specifications.

Although the recent court ruling prohibits business from manually re-editing commercial films, the law still allows for individuals to self censor and edit their own films for personal use.

Programmed re-editing

Programmed re-editing occurs when software (such as that employed in a DVD player) is used to skip portions of the video and/or audio content on-the-fly according to pre-programmed instruction sets which are knowingly used by the consumer.

Apparently, the movie censorship companies that Hollywood directors forced to shut down were in trouble because they were manually editing movies for commercial use.  The reason why the popular ClearPlay filtering service hasn’t met the same fate is because they are utilizing the second method: buy the DVD you’d like to see from wherever DVDs are normally sold, buy ClearPlay’s monthly or annual membership, buy ClearPlay’s refurbished DVD player and/or other equipment, and then play the movie with fairly customizable pre-programed functions to mute or skip questionable content.

But do you realize how much you have to pay them just to watch a movie without smut?

I’ve been doing some research, shopping around to see what other options there are for filtering smut out of movies.  Does ClearPlay the last of its kind, or are there lesser-known organizations that don’t pay quite as much to be the first search results on search engine results?

Well, so far, I’ve found two other very interesting (and free) resources that make filtering out the less charming aspects of popular movies an easy process: VidAngel (which focuses primarily on streaming movies) and EnJoy Movies Your Way (which focuses primarily on DVD-format films).  These two websites use programmed re-editing in their movie filtration process, which Hollywood seems okay with.  Their services are at this time free; all you need to do is obtain the original media and play it through their free filters.

See?  So much less expensive, and best of all, the Hollywood people still get paid, because you purchased the movies you just so happen to be viewing through a perfectly legal filter from regular distribution channels.  That way, everybody’s happy, from parents to producers.

P.S. I personally really like what the EnJoy content filter has to offer, and I hope to write a review of the product once I’m more familiar with it.

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