CleanFilms and CleanFlicks offer a Netflix-type rental service for $19.95 per month, which includes unlimited DVD rentals. They also sell DVDs. Family Flix does not rent movies – it sells them – and claims to be the strictest in its editing. Family Flix also offers something the other companies don't – the option to mail the company a DVD or VHS movie and have it edited. Its handling of VHS movies is unique among the companies.

With ClearPlay now protected by law, the other three companies appear now to be the sole targets of the suit. A handful of other companies already have shut down in light of the lawsuit.

Richards and others defend their practice by noting that TV networks and airlines frequently show edited movies that are free of profanity, nudity and graphic violence. Hollywood, though, does not sell those versions.

"A lot of us in the past have gone [to Hollywood] and said, 'Why don't you just take the airlines movies and make them available on DVD now that technology allows you to put two versions of the movie on the same disk?'" Richards said. "The problem is that they have gone in the opposite direction. They started using the [DVD's] double capacity [for] uncut versions."

With the "uncut" and "uncensored" versions, PG movies turn R-rated, and R-rated movies become even worse.

Said ClearPlay's Aho: "This was part of the DVD promise – that you could have both PG-13 and R [versions on the same DVD] and you could pick your rating. It never happened. The reason it never happened is because directors don't want you to see movies other ways. They hate airline versions. They hate TV versions."

The new law allows ClearPlay to focus more on its business and less on the court battle. This summer the company will release two new DVD players. One model will come with a USB jump drive that can be used to download the latest movie filters. After downloading filters, the jump drive can then upload them to the player. The second model comes with a modem and phone cord and is aimed at people who have no computer. The modem downloads the latest filters directly to the player. Each will retail for $199, Aho said.

Daniel Weiss, senior analyst for media and sexuality at Focus on the Family, said that while Focus does not endorse any of the companies, he is "not surprised there's a market" for them.

"[F]amilies have been practically begging Hollywood to stop assaulting them for years," Weiss said. "Hollywood is not responding. They're still trying to push the envelope.

"There is a large percentage of Americans who won't go to see those films if they know there is that brief shot of nudity. They're not going to expose themselves or their kids to it. Hollywood's not paying attention to this message, and so someone saw the need and decided to sell it."

Said CleanFilms' Richards: "It's how capitalistic societies work. There's a strong need in the marketplace. ... And studios are not meeting that demand and refusing to meet that demand."

For more information about the companies, visit their websites: www.ClearPlay.com, www.CleanFilms.com, www.CleanFlicks.com and www.FamilyFlix.com.


© 2005 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.