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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

MPAA making (il)legal copies of `This Film is Not Yet Rated'?

From the LA Times (via Cinematical), `MPAA finds itself accused of piracy.' From the piece:

    The MPAA admitted Monday that it had duplicated "This Film Is Not Yet Rated" without the filmmaker's permission after director Kirby Dick submitted his movie in November for an MPAA rating. The Hollywood trade organization said that it did not break copyright law, insisting that the dispute is part of a Dick-orchestrated "publicity stunt" to boost the film's profile.

    Scheduled to debut at the Sundance Film Festival on Wednesday night, "This Film Is Not Yet Rated" examines what Dick believes are the MPAA's stricter standards for rating explicit depictions of sex than for gruesome violence. Dick also explores whether independent films are rated more harshly than studio films, whether scenes of gay sex are restricted more than scenes of straight sex, and why the 10 members of the MPAA's ratings board operate without any public accountability.

John Horn, the Times staff writer, gives the MPAA a chance to respond:

    "We made a copy of Kirby's movie because it had implications for our employees," said Kori Bernards, the MPAA's vice president for corporate communications. She said Dick spied on the members of the MPAA's Classification and Rating Administration, including going through their garbage and following them as they drove their children to school.

    "We were concerned about the raters and their families," Bernards said. She said the MPAA's copy of "This Film Is Not Yet Rated" is "locked away," and is not being copied or distributed.

    The standard the MPAA is using for itself appears to be at odds with what the organization sets out for others: "Manufacturing, selling, distributing or making copies of motion pictures without the consent of the copyright owners is illegal," the MPAA's website says. "Movie pirates are thieves, plain and simpleā€¦. ALL forms of piracy are illegal and carry serious legal consequences."


  • Regardless of whether Dick spied on employees, what the MPAA did violates good old fasioned copyright law (or at least it really looks that way, based on the limited info we have). Dick's alleged indescretions are a seperate issue entirely, and certainly don't nullify his issue with the MPAA making unathorized copies.

    And if the director had the presence of mind to get his DVD duped with proper CSS encryption, the MPAA would have had to rip the DVD's using a process that violates the DMCA's anti-circumvention clause. Which would be oh-so-juicy and exciting to hear, based on the MPAA's use of that same clause to prosecute people in the past. I'm crossing *my* fingers and rooting for the little guy...

    Can you say Karma? :-)

    Matt Jeppsen

    By Blogger freshdv, at 12:22 PM  

  • please see movie producer etc. katharine leis

    By Blogger Fred Leis, at 10:07 PM  

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