The legal battle has been joined. On one side are Hollywood directors and moviemakers, and on the other side are companies such as CleanFlicks, who sell and rent movies with profanity, graphic violence, nudity, and sexual content removed. For instance, Kate Winslet’s famous nude scene in Titanic (providing a movie miracle) has been edited out at CleanFlicks. The CleanFlicks website clearly states that its movies are edited to remove objectionable content, so it’s not like the customers can claim they have been unjustly denied their right to ogle British boobs; they knew they were renting or buying an edited version of Titanic when they walked into the store. In fact, CleanFlicks’ customers patronize the company precisely because they want to see movies with the “naughty bits” excised. Ironically, CleanFlicks can demonstrate that it is providing what its customers truly want, while most big-name Hollywood movie companies cannot.

Enter the plaintiffs, hereafter referred to as “the crybabies.” “Our creative artistic expression is being violated! Waah! This is censorship! Waaaah! Call our lawyers, now!” And, surprise, sue happens.

Into the fray wades U.S. District Court Judge Richard P. Matsch of Colorado. Matsch ruled that CleanFlicks et al must cease and desist all selling and renting of edited movies, fork over the goods forthwith, and get on with the business of going out of business already. Brace yourselves — here comes Judge Matsch’s justification for siding with the crybabies:

[Moviemakers'] objective…is to stop the infringement because of its irreparable injury to the creative artistic expression in the copyrighted movies. There is a public interest in providing such protection. [CleanFlicks'] business is illegitimate.

I guess the judge also believes there is a public interest in CleanFlicks filing for bankruptcy. Funny, the public was certainly interested enough to patronize the companies which provided the editing service, but public interest be damned — apparently the judge knows better what is in the public interest than the public itself.

I don’t patronize any of these now-endangered companies, but I don’t see that they are quite the bugaboos the judge and the crybabies have made them out to be. I laughed when I read that the editing companies caused “irreparable injury to the creative artistic expression” of the crybabies. Their “creative artistic expression” is far from the untouchable paragon of virtue that the judge and crybabies would have you believe it to be. Doubt me? Well, here are a few titles “for your consideration,” as they say in the movie biz: Heaven’s Gate, Ishtar, From Justin to Kelly, Glitter, and Gigli, to mention just a few (there are many, many more film titles of similar “quality” produced every year). I can’t help but believe that if CleanFlicks were to edit out all objectionable material from these films, the only thing left would be the FBI warnings. And the crybabies can’t whine too much about people modifying their “artistic expression” when they willingly compromise it themselves, each time they acquiesce to creating airline and edited-for-TV versions of their films.

It seems that the real boobs in this situation are not the ones Kate Winslet paraded in Titanic, but the crybabies themselves. Where’s the service to edit them out?

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