Want to see World Trade Center without the bad language? The Illusionist without the violence? Titanic without Kate Winslet's breasts? For years, CleanFlicks (and a few similar companies) have sold and rented DVDs with profanity, nudity, violence, and sexual content carefully edited out. For each edited copy sold or rented, a copy of the original was also purchased. We're marketers, CleanFlicks told Hollywood, offering your films to an audience that wouldn't otherwise see them.

No, you're thieves, the Directors Guild of America responded, and sued for copyright infringement. In early July, the directors won. CleanFlicks does "irreparable injury to the creative artistic expression in the copyrighted movies," U.S. District Judge Richard P. Matsch wrote. "Their business is illegitimate."

We at Christianity Today are divided about scrubbing films (as are our readers, as response to our online coverage of the decision indicates). Some emphasize artistic integrity and the dangers of trying to make everything "safe for the whole family." Mel Gibson, they note, sued CleanFlicks for removing three minutes of violence from The Passion of The Christ. Such violence was supposed to make the viewer uncomfortable.

Others reply that the "art" of adding profanity or nudity to an otherwise entertaining film is often just a marketing ploy, as studios seek a rating that will attract 17-year-olds. As one of our readers put it, we'd rather be on the edge of our seats because the movie is exciting, not because we want to hit the fast-forward button before we're confronted with a lustful image. The judge compared CleanFlicks to "putting a fig leaf" on Michelangelo's David. But surely people should be allowed to cover a copy of the statue in their ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Also in this IssueYoung, Restless, Reformed
Young, Restless, Reformed Subscriber Access Only
Calvinism is making a comeback—and shaking up the church.
Current IssueOn Immigration, Welcoming the Stranger Is Only One Piece of the Puzzle
On Immigration, Welcoming the Stranger Is Only One Piece of the Puzzle Subscriber Access Only
Why Christians should support reforms that recognize both the dignity of immigrants and the rule of law.
Current IssueOur May Issue: Social Science and Spiritual Formation
Our May Issue: Social Science and Spiritual Formation
Can research about the fruit of the spirit make you a better Christian?
RecommendedIn ‘The Case for Christ,’ Experience, not Evidence, Is the Real Clincher
In ‘The Case for Christ,’ Experience, not Evidence, Is the Real Clincher
Pure Flix's adaptation of the apologetics classic succeeds most where it preaches least.
TrendingWho’s In Charge of the Christian Blogosphere?
Who’s In Charge of the Christian Blogosphere?
The age of the Internet has birthed a crisis of authority, especially for women.
Editor's PickTogether for the Gospels
Together for the Gospels: Unprecedented Unity Among Bible Translators Transforms Giving
Lessons learned from illumiNations initiative could help other causes.
Christianity Today
Scrubbing CleanFlicks
hide thisSeptember September

In the Magazine

September 2006

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.