Studios sue Arizona man who sells family friendly versions of their movies

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Courthouse News Service reports on a lawsuit by 10 major movie studios against a Queen Creek man who edits films to remove “objectionable” scenes and dialogue and sells them.

(John) Webster charges customers “$7.50 for each DVD-R copy of an altered movie (with a minimum order requirement of 10 DVD-Rs), without the authorization of the studios and in violation of the Copyright Act,” according to the federal complaint.

Plaintiffs include Paramount, MGM, Disney, Warner Bros., Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, Sony and Universal. In addition to not having authorization, according to the complaint, one of their big concerns is that Family Edited DVDs Inc.’s products don’t include the copyright protection measures you’d find on retail discs.

Because those have proved so hard to get around.

The studios are seeking to halt Webster’s business and want reimbursed for their legal costs and copyright damages.

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Jayson Peters

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  • This lawsuit is a bunch of . . . bologna. Yes, I understand the concept of intellectual property and agree with that ideal, but the big studios should get the hint that there are many people who want to watch a good story/movie without the gratiutous sex/violence/language. Quite a few businesses like this have been shut down due to pressure from big studios (Family Flix and CleanFilms, to name a few). Probably a better idea would have been for each customer to have brought to him (Webster) their own purchased normal copy that he would then create the edited version from. Then the studio gets their money, and the customer gets an edited movie. However, the mind-boggler is that even this sensible approach is not allowed per the law!

  • This lawsuit is a bunch of . . . bologna. Yes, I understand the concept of intellectual property and agree with that ideal, but the big studios should get the hint that there are many people who want to watch a good story/movie without the gratiutous sex/violence/language. Quite a few businesses like this have been shut down due to pressure from big studios (Family Flix and CleanFilms, to name a few). Probably a better idea would have been for each customer to have brought to him (Webster) their own purchased normal copy that he would then create the edited version from. Then the studio gets their money, and the customer gets an edited movie. However, the mind-boggler is that even this sensible approach is not allowed per the law!

  • Who the HELL does this self-righteous IDIOT think he is, anyway? This is the United States of America, and censorship of any kind should not be tolerated. Movies are usually “rated” or “reviewed” so people know ahead of time what they might be seeing. If there are grownups out there who are offended by “whatever,” they can just refrain from watching that particular movie. If parents don’t want their minor children to “see” something in a movie, then they can withhold whatever movie it is until the kiddies are old enough (most kids over the age of 13 know everything anyway and their parents are in denial). I hope the studios HIT THIS IDIOT HARD! I hope he has to pay big legal fees – for thinking he had the right to do what he has done. Copyright laws are very specific….he broke the law. He set himself up as someone who would decide for others what they could and could not see. People like him make me sick.

  • Who the HELL does this self-righteous IDIOT think he is, anyway? This is the United States of America, and censorship of any kind should not be tolerated. Movies are usually “rated” or “reviewed” so people know ahead of time what they might be seeing. If there are grownups out there who are offended by “whatever,” they can just refrain from watching that particular movie. If parents don’t want their minor children to “see” something in a movie, then they can withhold whatever movie it is until the kiddies are old enough (most kids over the age of 13 know everything anyway and their parents are in denial). I hope the studios HIT THIS IDIOT HARD! I hope he has to pay big legal fees – for thinking he had the right to do what he has done. Copyright laws are very specific….he broke the law. He set himself up as someone who would decide for others what they could and could not see. People like him make me sick.

  • I think the studios should release a version that is family-friendly. A lot of people would buy copies of movies which are edited so that older children can watch them. Many times, it is only one or two scenes which make a video too risque for my middle-aged child. I hope the studios pay attention now to the fact that they are missing out by not providing edited versions to the public.

  • I think the studios should release a version that is family-friendly. A lot of people would buy copies of movies which are edited so that older children can watch them. Many times, it is only one or two scenes which make a video too risque for my middle-aged child. I hope the studios pay attention now to the fact that they are missing out by not providing edited versions to the public.

  • Hello!!!!!

    Doesn’t anyone read all the copyright infringement warnings at the beginning of every movie? There aren’t any swear words in those messages so maybe someone has actually read them? I’s not intellectual property, it’s a movie and it’s one thing to make a copy illegally and edit it for your own viewing and but if you sell it, you are no better than the thieves in China who steal and sell cd’s and dvd’s every day.

  • Hello!!!!!

    Doesn’t anyone read all the copyright infringement warnings at the beginning of every movie? There aren’t any swear words in those messages so maybe someone has actually read them? I’s not intellectual property, it’s a movie and it’s one thing to make a copy illegally and edit it for your own viewing and but if you sell it, you are no better than the thieves in China who steal and sell cd’s and dvd’s every day.

  • If you object to scenes or language you have this neato thing called a REMOTE CONTROL. You DON’T have the right to alter another persons material for monetary gain. Also purchasing these bootleg copies is denying the movie studios and actors wages that they earned.

    The core issue with this is that if a man is editing movies and reselling them, he can change the movie to reflect any view point he wants, which may be contrary to the views held by the studio, writers or actors in it. He may have the best of intentions, but it opens the doors to the less scrupulous.

  • If you object to scenes or language you have this neato thing called a REMOTE CONTROL. You DON’T have the right to alter another persons material for monetary gain. Also purchasing these bootleg copies is denying the movie studios and actors wages that they earned.

    The core issue with this is that if a man is editing movies and reselling them, he can change the movie to reflect any view point he wants, which may be contrary to the views held by the studio, writers or actors in it. He may have the best of intentions, but it opens the doors to the less scrupulous.

  • While this person should certainly have not been selling complete copies, the market for this material has been proven. These films are always altered when they are shown on television, so we know there is an impetus to do such things. They are also altered when played for public viewing on airplanes. These studios will continue to lose revenue from families that simply want the stories content without the sex, violence or language.

    For those that think the entire concept is illegal, you are wrong, the courts have not been clear as to what constitues fully legal analog recording of scenes, that are reconstructed for use by the family. It would be smart for these folks to provide DVD editing Services and not the film as a finished product. The editing service is not illegal if done correctly. Tunebite is a product that can grab DVD’s and scenes legally just like using a DVR is legal.

    Another option would be a map for a specific movie that could be read by a DVD player to skip over or mute out certain parts. Nothing illegal about that either.

  • While this person should certainly have not been selling complete copies, the market for this material has been proven. These films are always altered when they are shown on television, so we know there is an impetus to do such things. They are also altered when played for public viewing on airplanes. These studios will continue to lose revenue from families that simply want the stories content without the sex, violence or language.

    For those that think the entire concept is illegal, you are wrong, the courts have not been clear as to what constitues fully legal analog recording of scenes, that are reconstructed for use by the family. It would be smart for these folks to provide DVD editing Services and not the film as a finished product. The editing service is not illegal if done correctly. Tunebite is a product that can grab DVD’s and scenes legally just like using a DVR is legal.

    Another option would be a map for a specific movie that could be read by a DVD player to skip over or mute out certain parts. Nothing illegal about that either.

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