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Both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the practice of “sanitizing” movies -- snipping out scenes that are judged to be offensive so that they will be acceptable on DVD and VHS -- is gaining momentum.

The practice has been pioneered by companies in Utah, and retailers such as Albertsons have been selling and renting the sanitized movies.

However, film studios and artists are up in arms about the practice, concerned that it violates copyright laws, not to mention the artistic integrity of the movies involved.

Among the movies that have been altered: “Traffic,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Titanic,” ‘Monster’s Ball,” and even the animated film “Shrek.”

The defense of the practice seems to be that if someone buys a pair of pants at a store and chooses to take them home and dye them a different color, that’s not considered to be a breach of anyone’s rights.
KC's View:
This defense is one of the most patently absurd arguments we’ve ever heard.

This practice is censorship, pure and simple. It is a violation of these artists’ rights and the studios’ copyrights, pure and simple. And any sort of defense of movie “sanitizing” strikes us as rationalizing something that ought to be reviled. Sanitizing movies is no better than burning books, and we all know what kind of people burn books.

You don’t want to see a movie, don’t watch it. If you don’t want your children to see certain things, watch it first and then make a decision one way or the other.

Albertsons and other companies ought to do the right thing and pull these products off the shelves. After all, we’re willing to bet they may have some trademarks that they’d like to see protected…and if copyrights can be violated, why not trademarks?