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For week ended August 01, 1999 Posted 8 Aug 1999

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

Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

Am. F. video store may be winning battle with studio over edited films
Deseret News 30Jul99 L2
By Jeff Call: Deseret News staff writer

AMERICAN FORK -- James Cameron's oscar-winning movie "Titanic" collided with an unseen iceberg last summer and with two American Fork mom-and-pop businesses. Sunrise Family Video and Towne Cinema unknowingly stood on the front lines in a battle with Paramount Pictures and the right to edit both movies show in theatres and personally owned copies of the movies.

Sunrise owner, Carol Biesinger, said the practice of editing was not part of an organized plot. "We have no tie with the theater. We just happen to be in the same city," she explained. "Then again, considering the standards in this area, maybe it isn't a coincidence." Most residents of American Fork and Utah County are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The owners of Sunrise and Towne Cinema are firm believers in upholding community ideals.

Towne Cinema owners, Carol and John Allred said, "We couldn't believe it became such a big deal." "Never in a million years did I think it would turn into that. I didn't think it would get out of Utah County."

When Paramount Pictures learned about the editing, it pulled the film Titanic from Towne Cinema. Paramount claimed editing movies violated copyright and trademark laws. Towne Cinema must now sign an agreement that says they will agree not do any editing. "We're back on every studios list," Allred said. "They wanted to scare us. We were hoping to scare them. But that's hard to do to Hollywood."

Sunrise heard threats from Paramount after it announced on its marquee, "We'll Edit Your 'Titanic' for $5," last September. "The first night we received 30 or 40 movies and I thought it had probably run its course," Biesinger said. "The next day, CBS in New York was on the phone." With letters being sent to both businesses, Paramount threatened legal action if they continued. "There's been nothing since then," Biesinger said. "They're probably smart to let it go."

"It's been a fanatastic experience, Biesinger said. "We've been able to see how the media works. We've also seen the support we have. Overall, it's helped us."

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