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Monday, May 02, 2005
New Technology Enables Parents To Filter DVD Content

President Bush has just signed the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act into law. That just might give parents the tool they've been looking for to limit what children see and hear.

"It's a common sense way to help parents raise their children in an atmosphere where they can protect them from offensive conduct," said Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas.

The technology allows parents to predetermine what should be skipped or muted in a commercial movie DVD. It won approval from Congress and the White House because parents decide what to take out of a movie.

"You can watch the movie any way you like," said Bill Aho, CEO, Clearplay, Inc. "One of those options includes not with clearplay at all. You may want to watch it differently when you have your 5- and 6-year-old around than when you have, say, your 16-year-old in the room."

Clearplay is currently the only company selling filters for DVD players. The movie industry didn't support the legislation, calling it a form of censorship, but the final bill includes protections for the movie industry as well.

There are criminal penalties for anyone who records and sells bootleg copies of movies, plus stiff penalties for anyone who distributes a movie or song before the official release.

"This will permit more good American movies be to be made and shown around the world," said Dan Glickman, president of the Motion Picture Association of America.

And so whether the protections are for those who watch on the TV screen or make movies for the silver screen. Overall, the law is getting two thumbs up.

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