Whose DVD is this, anyway?

“Wal-Mart and Kmart, two of the nation’s biggest retailers, are planning to sell a new DVD player that includes a technology that can automatically skip sexual content, graphically violent scenes and language deemed offensive.”

Hey, sounds great! I can’t stand gratuitous sex scenes, and I get tired of the constant f-bombs that some movies seem to think makes for “great dialogue”. I like the concept of setting my “filter level” (there are 14 levels with this particular DVD player) and watching the movie.

But wait… the Directors Guild of America chimes in with:

“By not seeking the consent of the director, whose name on the movie reflects the fact that the film comprises his or her work, or of the studio as copyright holder, they can and do change the very meaning and intent of films.”

Okay, so I’ve bought a DVD at the store. I’ve paid the studio and the distributor and the director and the actors and the gaffers and the electric best boys and whoever else for their time. Now I want to sit in the comfort of my own home and watch said DVD, and I’m not supposed to skip stuff I don’t like because it “change[s] the very meaning” of the movie?

This is absurd. Next they’ll take off the fast-forward button, because I might use it to skip the scene where Emilio Estevez’s buttocks show up in “Young Guns” or something. They’ve already made it impossible to skip the previews and/or ads that come on at the beginning of the disc (thank you, Disney, for *making* me watch the “Freaky Friday” preview yet again).

This technology doesn’t do anything to the DVD, which has been legally purchased by me in the first place; it simply has a database of particular scenes to skip and does so when the movie is playing. There’s no copyright infringement, no illegal distribution, and nothing else I can see that should be the concern of anyone outside of my viewing audience.

Sigh… one more sign that despite interesting advances in technology, the Evil Corporations will do what they can to hold onto “their” property with an iron fist. They want to control what I watch.

It reminds me of a quote:

“The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”