Religious choral music »« Nothing but liars

Mid-week schadenfreude

And another lying fundagelical scumbag goes down! Daniel Thompson ran a video store and online video club called Clean Flix, where people could rent “family friendly” versions of R-rated movies that Thompson had personally edited the sex and profanity out of. Thompson had already raised the ire of Hollywood for possible copyright violations in doing that. Now he’s charged with paying a 14-year-old girl for sex and has further embarrassed his supporters following the discovery of — all together now — a massive stash of porn he kept tucked away in his “family friendly” store. Police are now investigating whether the whole Clean Flix thing was a bogus front for distributing porn all along.

Chuckle along with the video report here.


Update: It gets nastier. According to the news item on IMDb, Thompson allegedly told one of the girls (there were two) that he and a buddy are charged with raping that “his business was actually a cover for a pornography studio and asked them to participate in making a porn movie.” Awesome.

Comments

  1. says

    Someone actually set up a video store with only movies edited to remove the boobies and swear words?More importantly: is it any surprise to find that such a person is actually a bit of a deviant?

  2. Martin says

    Well, they probably did, they were all just the “cleaned up” versions, and thus hardly worth watching.

  3. says

    “Someone actually set up a video store with only movies edited to remove the boobies and swear words?”Yes. I don’t know much about the place, but there was a controversy because the store was sued over intellectual property issues. Either they were buying movies and then providing the customers with censored versions, or they were making censored versions of movies the customer provided. This was analogous to a store selling CDs and then converting them to mp3 format for the customer. The MPAA wanted to have complete control over what version the customer gets, and I was agreeing with cleanflix in principal (although I had no interest in buying censored movies). Of course, I can’t say I agree with the hypocrisy and molestation aspects of the story.

  4. says

    If there were a market for these cleaned up R-rated movies, the studios would have already been releasing the airline version of movies to DVD themselves.

  5. says

    But the principal is that, if you are the legal owner of the movie, then the studio has no right to tell you how to use it. I see this as being similar to either transferring a legally purchased cd to mp3 format, or to buying a novel and cutting pages out of it.

  6. Martin says

    You’re wrong on this one, Thomas. It’s one thing if the proprietor had put together a censored version of a movie for his own viewing, in his own home. (And even then, strictly speaking, he’d have been in violation of the law.) But he ran a rental business, for profit, and that’s different. When you run a video rental store, you are expected to rent out the videos the studios and distributors send you. There is no legal provision by which a video rental business owner can create his own bowdlerized version of a commercial movie and rent that instead. To adapt the situation to your analogy, if Border’s took a published novel, cut pages out of it without approval of the copyright owner, and tried selling that in their stores instead of the proper version (the version published by a company holding a contract with the copyright owner, the writer), then they’d be in massive violation of copyright law.Or, if a record store had taken the new CD by a major band, then burned copies of it that deleted two songs somebody in store management didn’t like and sold those — boom — violation.What CleanFlix was doing was simply wrong, both legally and (in my view as a film industry professional) ethically.

  7. says

    Well, Martin, first of all, I have thought about it and realized that there is little way they can do this without violating the DMCA, which pretty much blows my argument away, anyway. (The reason the DMCA would put them in the wrong is because it prohibits the breaking of copy protection or encryption, which nearly every DVD produced today has.)One could argue that fair use allows one to change formats, make backup copies, and abridge the original work, but only for certain purposes (personal use, educational use, parody, etc), but it may be seen differently when a business does it for the customer.As for your two analogies, I don’t know if I would have a problem with it, so long as the stores inform the customer that that is what they are doing.

  8. Martin says

    Well, Martin, first of all, I have thought about it and realized that there is little way they can do this without violating the DMCA, which pretty much blows my argument away, anyway. (The reason the DMCA would put them in the wrong is because it prohibits the breaking of copy protection or encryption, which nearly every DVD produced today has.)There’s no way they can do it under traditional copyright law either.One could argue that fair use allows one to change formats, make backup copies, and abridge the original work, but only for certain purposes (personal use, educational use, parody, etc)But that’s all that fair use would cover — excerpting copyrighted works for criticism, commentary, scholarship, research, sundry journalistic or academic purposes. Fair use doesn’t allow someone to make bowdlerized copies of something and then sell or rent those at a profit in lieu of the original, and without approval of the copyright holder of the original.So fair use is really irrelevant and completely inapplicable to the Clean Flix situation.As for your two analogies, I don’t know if I would have a problem with it, so long as the stores inform the customer that that is what they are doing.And what about informing the copyright holder that is what they’re doing? Sounds to me like you’re someone who not only doesn’t respect intellectual property and the artists who create it, but the notion of respecting those things doesn’t even occur to you. That’s a pity.

  9. says

    > Fair use doesn’t allow > someone to > make bowdlerized copies of > something That’s one part of the issue. Under current fair use law, one would be unlikely to prevent someone from doing this for personal use.> and then sell or rent those at a > profit in lieu of the original, And that’s the other part. I have already conceded that this part may cross the line.> and without approval of the > copyright holder of the original.This part is redundant. Either the customer has fair use rights or (s)he has to ask the content provider for permission. > And what about informing the > copyright holder that is what > they’re doing? You’re pretty much just reiterating what you said in the last paragraph. Again, either it is legal or illegal. It is contradictory to say that the customer has rights, but only if (s)he gets permission, first.> Sounds to me like you’re someone > who not only doesn’t respect > intellectual property and the > artists who create it, I respect the artists, and IP laws, but do not respect the notion that a writer can dictate how I watch or listen to the products I buy. If you don’t like what the customer does with the product, then don’t sell the product.> but the notion of respecting > those things doesn’t even occur > to you. That’s a pity.Gee, golly. I guess I don’t support the troops, either. One can disagree about some parts of copyright law without being a communist or without endorsing the view that we throw them out entirely.

  10. Martin says

    It is contradictory to say that the customer has rights, but only if (s)he gets permission, first.But Thomas, that’s why it’s called “fair use,” and not “unlimited use.” You do have rights when you buy media for your own consumption, but those rights are limited. If you wish to go beyond those limitations, there are additional permissions you have to get. Try reading the copyright notice on a DVD the next time you watch one: it’s very specific. For private home viewing only, no unauthorized duplication or public performance allowed, etc etc.Again, this discussion is not about how a private individual is choosing to consume a product he has bought for his own use. This is about someone running a for-profit business making unauthorized copies of movies that they have edited without permission of the copyright holder. You couldn’t get a clearer violation of the law if you lit it with neon and stuck it on top of the Statue of Liberty.I respect the artists, and IP laws, but do not respect the notion that a writer can dictate how I watch or listen to the products I buy. If you don’t like what the customer does with the product, then don’t sell the product.Thomas, if you want to buy a DVD and then immediately set it on fire the moment you walk out of the store, no one will stop you. But this isn’t about personal use, this is about someone running an illegal business.But seriously, almost every product you buy comes with legal restrictions. If you purchase a car, it is generally expected that you will obey a complex list of traffic laws and refrain from doing things like driving on sidewalks and deliberately running down pedestrians. Making the defense that “if you don’t like what the customer does with the product, then don’t sell the product,” wouldn’t get you very far when brought up on vehicular manslaughter charges.Where copyright law is concerned, there really isn’t that much there to inconvenience the consumer. It is true that the entertainment industry was too slow to embrace the internet as a distribution platform, allowing piracy to gain a foothold. But there, the fault is with the idiots who run the industry, not with the law.Gee, golly. I guess I don’t support the troops, either. One can disagree about some parts of copyright law without being a communist or without endorsing the view that we throw them out entirely.There’s no need to get angry or defensive, Thomas. My comment was not intended as a personal insult, and I don’t recall calling you a communist either. I didn’t mean for you to take it personally. I was simply pointing out where you were mistaken on what the law allows. And it does seem to me that someone who doesn’t have a problem with third parties making alterations to a work of art without the approval of the creator of that work must not have much respect for the creator’s rights, specifically, to choose what he wants to express and how he wants it to be expressed.

  11. says

    First of all, I have conceded that I was wrong in saying that a business could use “fair use” as a defense. However, my issue is that you have been asserting that it is also illegal for personal use. I’m stating this now, because it will probably influence everything in the discussion.You do have rights when you buy media for your own consumption, but those rights are limited. If you wish to go beyond those limitations, there are additional permissions you have to get.No argument there. We are arguing about what those limitations are.Try reading the copyright notice on a DVD the next time you watch one: it’s very specific. For private home viewing only, no unauthorized duplication or public performance allowed, etc etc.Of course, this is not legally binding. The major IP lobbies have been arguing for a strict interpretation of copyright law, with little or no provision for fair use, and the courts have generally disagreed. But seriously, almost every product you buy comes with legal restrictions. If you purchase a car, it is generally expected that you will obey a complex list of traffic laws and refrain from doing things like driving on sidewalks and deliberately running down pedestrians. Making the defense that “if you don’t like what the customer does with the product, then don’t sell the product,” wouldn’t get you very far when brought up on vehicular manslaughter charges.Bad analogy. I never said that the government doesn’t have the right to dictate what a customer can do with his property. I said the MPAA doesn’t have that right. Big difference.it does seem to me that someone who doesn’t have a problem with third parties making alterations to a work of art without the approval of the creator of that work must not have much respect for the creator’s rights, specifically, to choose what he wants to express and how he wants it to be expressed.This sounds like a free expression argument. The problem with that is that free expression does not guarantee an audience. If you express yourself, and some people choose not to listen, or to only listen to some parts, then they are not infringing upon your right to express yourself.

  12. Martin says

    However, my issue is that you have been asserting that it is also illegal for personal use. I’m stating this now, because it will probably influence everything in the discussion.No, I most emphatically have not been asserting this, which should be obvious from going back and reading my previous comments. I have asserted that private owners of recorded media do not have certain rights, such as the right to public exhibition or unauthorized duplication. As per the latter, the courts have never decided that duplication of a work one already owns for one’s own personal use, such as backup or putting songs from a CD onto an iPod, is illegal (though the RIAA have stupidly and futilely been trying to argue that). I think throughout the conversation you have repeatedly been misunderstanding what I’ve been saying and conflating the legality of what Clean Flix was doing as a business and what private owners are allowed to do for themselves.I never said that the government doesn’t have the right to dictate what a customer can do with his property. I said the MPAA doesn’t have that right. Big difference.To a degree, the MPAA most certainly does have that right. If you make unauthorized, edited copies of copyrighted movies, and attempt to make money off of those through sales or rentals, then you’re in violation of copyright and they have every right to come down on you like a mountain of bricks. Why I’m having such a hard time communicating this is a mystery.If you express yourself, and some people choose not to listen, or to only listen to some parts, then they are not infringing upon your right to express yourself.But what you said was that you would have no problem with third parties making money off of versions of copyrighted works that have been altered from their original form without consent of the creator/copyright owner, and furthermore, that you think the only people who should be informed that such unauthorized alterations have taken place are the consumers. That’s a bit different.

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