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NOV
15
4 YEARS

Studios Sue to Stop 'Family-Friendly' DVD Service

Hollywood is once again going to battle with the puritans, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

A coalition of major studios including Paramount, Warner Bros., MGM, Disney, Universal and Fox has filed a lawsuit against a defendant who has taken movies such as Iron Man 2, The Hurt Locker, Prince of Persia and Date Night, altered them to be free of objectionable content, and is distributing them to consumers as "family-friendly." [RELATED: A TV show gets sued.]

The lawsuit was filed on Thurday in Arizona District Court against Family Edited DVDS, Inc. and its leader, John Webster.

The studios claim that the reproduction of the films violates their exclusive copyrights. Further, the plaintiffs allege that the defendant is selling its films in DVD-R format, which they say strips away copyright protection measures and makes them "highly vulnerable to further unauthorized copying and other forms of infringement." [RELATED: Nintendo tries to trademark a phrase.]

The studios are requesting permanent injunctive relief.

Seven years ago, Hollywood battled DVD santizers including CleanFlicks, CleanFilms, Family Flix USA, and Play it Clean Video. In July, 2006, a federal judge ruled that santized DVDs were an infringement on the copyrights of the original films and ordered the businesses to turn over their inventory. At the time, the defendants pledged to appeal, but they never did. 

Back then, some lawmakers believed that households should have the ability to skip objectionable content in films. In 2005, the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act was passed into law, which allowed manufacturers of special DVD players such as ClearPlay and their users an exemption from copyright liability for skipping the adult material. Few lawyers think the legislation allowed re-distribution of altered DVDs, however. [RELATED: Why Gerard Butler is getting sued.]

Family Edited DVDs couldn't be reached for comment. Judging by the appearance of their website, the company may have seen this lawsuit coming. It is currently advertising a "liquidation" sale, telling its customers to get edited DVDs while they still can.