ALL the News about
Mormons, Mormonism
and the LDS Church
Mormon News: All the News about Mormons, Mormonism and the LDS Church
Posted 22 Oct 2001   For week ended October 19, 2001
Most Recent Week
Front Page
Local News
Arts & Entertainment
·New Products
·New Websites
·Mormon Stock Index
Letters to Editor
Continuing Coverage of:
Boston Temple
School Prayer
Julie on MTV
Robert Elmer Kleasen
About Mormon News
News by E-Mail
Weekly Summary
Submitting News
Submitting Press Releases
Volunteer Positions
Bad Link?

News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church

Sent on Mormon-News: 17Oct01

By Kent Larsen

Cleaned-Up Video Concept Expands to Southern Utah

CEDAR CITY, UTAH -- The controversial practice of editing videos to remove objectionable dialogue, sex and violence has expanded to Southern Utah from Utah's wasatch front, with Play It Clean stores opening earlier this year in St. George, Utah and this month in Cedar City, Utah. But while the concept is expanding in popularity, its legal status isn't entirely clear, and the nascent industry isn't getting any cooperation from Hollywood.

The latest store opening in Cedar City, where Coby and Ashlynn Mitchell have opened a Play It Clean shop, expanding the chain of stores started by Steve and JoAnn Moulton, who own stores on the wasatch front as well as the store in St. George. The Mitchell's use Play It Clean's three editors to remove the objectionable parts from videos after purchasing them.

Exactly who and were the editors are is a trade secret, says Mitchell, because the Moultons have competitors on the wasatch front -- Ray Lines' Clean Flicks in Provo, Clean Cut Videos in Kaysville, owned by Braxton and Brian Schenk, and probably others.

All of these companies see demand for their services, "People want to see these films, but they don't want to deal with the extreme violence," says Mitchell. "It's just like us. We wanted to see "The Green Mile" badly. But, we didn't want to see the unedited version. We waited so long, but, finally, we got to see it. It was kind of like being a kid at Christmas who finally got to open his presents."

That sentiment is echoed by the other owners and by customers throughout Utah. But the concept's history shows some opposition to the concept from Hollywood, which is uncomfortable with anyone else editing their products. But the history also shows various entrepreneurs looking for ways to get edited videos to the predominantly Mormon audience in Utah while staying legal.

BYU's Varsity Theater was among the first to show edited movies, for years quietly taking Hollywood movies and removing objectionable words, violence and sex from the 'second-run' movies it showed. But it wasn't until American Fork's Towne Cinema started showing an edited version of the first-run movie Titanic that the concept got widespread attention. Towne Cinema soon had people from all over Utah's wasatch front traveling to the theater to see its edited version. The popularity of Towne Cinema's version led to national publicity, and the film's distributor, Paramount, then pulled Titanic from the theater and threatened legal action, saying the practice violated the copyright and trademark laws. Towne Cinema had to stop editing films because neither Paramount nor any other Hollywood distributor would agree to allow it.

The publicity also led BYU to re-examine its policy, and representatives of the university also contacted Hollywood distributors seeking permission to edit films or to get the edited cuts they provide to airlines and to television. But BYU was also unsuccessful in its attempts. BYU then stopped showing edited movies, and instead showed older movies and G-rated movies that weren't objectionable, and this year, when those movies didn't prove popular, shut down the theater.

Meanwhile, Utah entrepreneurs started editing videos, again drawing publicity, and objecting letters from Hollywood. First Sunrise Family Video, also in American Fork, began editing customer-owned videos, excising objectionable parts from copies of Titanic that its customers had already purchased and then sent to them for editing. Paramount again threatened legal action, citing copyright law. But Sunrise owner Carol Biesinger said a year later that Paramount never followed up on its threat, "There's been nothing since then. They're probably smart to let it go."

Generally, owners can do what they want with copies of copyrighted material, so long as they don't then 'publish' them and try to sell them elsewhere. This probably has protected Sunrise Family Video, making its practice legal and keeping Paramount from taking action. However, other entrepreneurs have since pushed another line. Earlier this year Ray Lines' Clean Flicks also made the news, this time by offering the videos for rental to those that have joined his co-op video club.

Again Hollywood has claimed that the practice violates the copyright law, but has failed to take any action. Lines claims he has tried to reach Hollywood about the issue, only to be ignored. "I've had my lawyers call every one of those guys. It's not a priority for the movie houses. After some hostile muttering, the film industry has been silent."

One industry spokesman, Rob Friedman, the vice chairman of the motion picture group for Paramount Pictures, said that while studios probably had no recourse against the editing of privately owned videos, renting out altered tapes was tantamount to engaging in copyright and trademark infringement.

Not surprisingly, other studio-affiliated lawyers agree. Christopher C. Murray, the chairman of the entertainment and media division of the law firm O'Melveny &Myers in Los Angeles, whose clients include studios, actors and executives, stated that renting out altered tapes without authorization violates federal laws. Mr. Lines, however, says that his lawyer has assured him that he stands on solid ground.

Meanwhile, new shops have entered the market, including the Schenk's Clean Cut Videos in Kaysville, and the Moutlon's Play It Clean, making it a little more likely that Hollywood will eventually have to act. While the market in Utah may be small enough for Hollywood to ignore, if the practice of editing videos expands outside of Utah and the Mormon market, Hollywood will have to decide what it will do. Even if it can successfully prosecute those editing videos, expanding demand would indicate a market not getting what it wants, leaving Hollywood with the choice of either allowing the editing, or joining them.


Store renting edited versions of movies opens in Cedar City
St George UT Spectrum 13Oct01 B2
By Ed Kociela

See also:

BYU's Varsity Theater Closes After Editing Disallowed

Edited Video Efforts Again Make National News

CleanFlicks' Editing Reviewed in RedHerring

LDS Businessman Cleans-Up Movies, Makes Slate Sex Column

Mormon Video Store Keeps Editing in Spite of Legal Threat

Am. F. video store may be winning battle with studio over edited films


[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information