Law signed protecting filtering industry
Religion & Liberty Online

Law signed protecting filtering industry

President Bush signed a bill into law yesterday that exempts companies such as ClearPlay from litigation for copyright infringement. ClearPlay, for example, offers a DVD player that will filter out “objectionable” content. Consumers are free to purchase this item or not, depending on the sensitivity of their tastes and the ability of the ClearPlay device to cater to their demands. My initial reaction is that this is a positive move from the government, protecting a potentially prosperous and burgeoning industry.

It certainly is a move that is far superior to the heavy-handed and ham-fisted attempts by the FCC to regulate the decency or appropriateness of content on the supply side. It’s a move that is better even than efforts like the V-Chip, which are required to be included in all TV sets, rather than letting the consumer decide whether he or she wants to buy a set with such technology included.

As is so often the case, the recording and movie industries are well-behind the learning curve. They object to the existence of such technology as an imposition on their art and have sued to prevent companies like ClearPlay from editing the content of movies. Nevermind that such impositions occur everyday in which movies are edited for content and formatted to fit on TV broadcasts.

ClearPlay and others are simply responding to the demands of the market that are borne out of moral considerations. If movie companies had been business savvy, they would have realized sooner that catering to the large segment of the market that has functioning moral compasses could be lucrative. This new industry has sprung up because existing companies were not meeting a desire that existed out in the market.

For more, see Mere Comments.

Jordan J. Ballor

Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is director of research at the Center for Religion, Culture & Democracy, an initiative of the First Liberty Institute. He has previously held research positions at the Acton Institute and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and has authored multiple books, including a forthcoming introduction to the public theology of Abraham Kuyper. Working with Lexham Press, he served as a general editor for the 12 volume Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology series, and his research can be found in publications including Journal of Markets & Morality, Journal of Religion, Scottish Journal of Theology, Reformation & Renaissance Review, Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Faith & Economics, and Calvin Theological Journal. He is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary and the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity & Politics at Calvin University.