The Plucky Little Mother Who Could [Alter Copyrighted Works Without Permission]

The Ladies Home Journal, in their May 2003 issue, presents a story in their “Life Stories: Controversy” section called “Screen Saviours” that depicts the story of one Marlo Garrett, a plucky, inspirational woman not afraid to take on Big Hollywood.

You see, Ms. Garrett runs something called Clean Cut Cinemas. Clean Cut Cinemas is one of those houses that takes whole movies and cuts out the naughty bits, whether swearing or nudity or sexual situations, and then redistributes the bowdlerized work. Unlike the online stories covering the story of the lawsuits in Colorado filed by CleanFlicks to enable this gross violation of copyright, the Ladies Home Journal definitely favors the triumph of this family’s values over the property rights inherent in intellectual and creative works protected by copyright.

This is the other side’s story. A woman and mother wants to provide family-ready hit entertainment. Of course, the artists and big Hollywood are lining up against her, and copyright holders everywhere are cringing. Although her motives are purer than a thirst to be slaked by a quick buck, she and related companies and actions would reduce any author or moviemaker to the role of one of n monkeys with typewriters, eligible for revision by whatever gorilla comes along with a red pen.

Hopefully, the movie studios and directors will come to their senses and start seeing the opportunity for additional bonus features on DVDs that include a family-friendly release of popular movies, maybe even for five bucks more a disc. Undoubtedly this will bring Aggressive Agitator Parents (AAPs) to their lawmakers with lawn rakes and Citronella torches, protesting a “family tax” dictated by the market, but it would represent the market, and not the government, at work.

Our world would be a better place if these super parents, who have time on their hands to have a career AND run a successful Internet business, can turn the ample attention they spend while their children sit stupified before a Disney version of Reservoir Dogs to better things, such as revising James Joyce’s Ulysses so it’s readable and suitable for families. In that better world, I’ll broaden my mind with whatever paragraph is left of formerly great literature.

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