Douglas Crockford

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December 2006

Not Appropriate

Indie movie mill The Weinstein Company made a deal with Blockbuster that it would label its DVD packaging to identify its DVDs as not appropriate for rental from any retailer but Blockbuster. Such labels have no legal effect. The First Sale Doctrine allows anyone who buys a DVD to use it in any way that they want except to make copies except as permitted by the Fair Use Doctrine. Weinstein would like to give Blockbuster the exclusive right to rent its DVDs. There is no legal way to do that, so instead they are simply asserting that they have such a right and hoping that the public falls for it. This is a time honored practice in intellectual property law.

The National Entertainment Buying Group and two indie retailers filed suit in Massachusetts Superior Court today to block this, charging unfair competition, unfair or deceptive acts and practices, untrue and misleading advertisements, negligent misrepresentation and tortuous interference with advantageous business relations.

I think the court should side with Weinstein and Blockbuster. They ought to be able to put any stupid thing they want on their packaging as long it does not violate truth-in-packaging and truth-in-advertising law. I am much more concerned with misrepresentations like "The funniest film of the year!" I think such claims should entitle consumers to a full refund.

I suspect that the not appropriate labeling will be ignored by consumers just as they ignore the FBI warning.

CBS, Charlie Sheen bash Christ, Christmas and Christians

Donald E. Wildmon is taking on CBS again. This time he is upset because last week in the opening of Two and a Half Men, Charlie Sheen sang "Joy to the world, I’m getting laid." Wildmon thinks this is Christian bashing. I had no idea how hurtful that "tried to smoke a rubber cigar" stuff could be.

Wildmon seems pretty confident that his sheep don't watch the show (I don't), so in his AFA ActionAlert he details all of the offending lyrics and dialog. He also includes a link to a copyright infringing excerpt on YouTube so you can enjoy the laughs first hand.

The wisdom of television programming is if you don't like the show, don't watch it. I think there is something deeply, seriously wrong with people who complain against shows they don't watch. There is so much programming material available to us now. It is insane to expect that all of it must be to our liking.

I don't intend to bash Christians here. Just Wildmon.