May 02, 2005

An Original (to me) Argument Found Against DVD Expurgation

Sometimes, a piece I've written will pop up in the strangest places. It's not a matter of obscureness, but rather a certain kind of incongruity. I just found the following mention:

President Bush signed the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act into law last week. The decision is a victory for the makers of ClearPlay DVD machines and other film-editing devices intended for use in the home. But it could be a setback for companies like CleanFilms and others who edit copyrighted films to make them more "family-friendly"—and then market them to that target audience.


You can read more about this landmark decision at the Call Center CRM News Blog, at the Infothought blog, at The Hollywood Reporter, and at Public Knowledge.

What publication had this set of pointers, including me?

Given what I've written on the topic, perhaps I'm being shown the virtue of humility.

Anyway, reading that article, I was led to the author's own perspective:

Christian commentary - Anti-Smut Machines: Why This Is a Bad Idea

The writer makes many good arguments against bowlderization, ones which will be familiar to the typical copyfighting reader. I'll paraphrase them as artistic-integrity, forbidden-fruit, unintended consequences (here, where Christian themes might be expurgated), and so on. All concepts which will be well-known to people who follow the debate. But as a bit of cross-cultural distribution, I'll quote the novel (to me) Christian sin-antibody argument:

Censorship does not keep us from doing evil - it just blocks us from seeing it. If we develop a "cover your eyes" response to bad behavior, we are not developing a strength of spirit that resists sin. We are simply ignoring sin, and thus remaining weak and vulnerable. Jesus says it is not what goes into a man that corrupts him, but what proceeds from him that corrupts him. Scripture exhorts us to put on the "full armor of God" so we might resist the schemes of the devil. It does not exhort us to avert our eyes whenever someone's misbehaving.

I recognize in this a form of the argument that we are not helped by being isolated from knowledge, but rather should be instructed on how to recognize and fight evil. But I must admit I've never seen anyone put it quite that way before. And seeing a new argument in these debates happens very rarely.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in copyblight | on May 02, 2005 11:59 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

Subscribe with Bloglines      Subscribe in NewsGator Online  Google Reader or Homepage