Monthly Archives: August 2002

Huntsman et. al. file complaint



Civil Action No.  ____________________
















Plaintiffs, by their attorneys, Sherman and Howard L.L.C., for their Complaint against Defendants, state and allege as follows:


1.            This is a civil action for Declaratory relief arising out of a dispute and controversy between Plaintiffs and Defendants relating to the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 101, et seq.   This Court has exclusive jurisdiction by 28 U.S.C. §1338(a), which gives the District Courts jurisdiction of any civil action arising under any Act of Congress relating to patents, copyrights and trademarks, and by 28 U.S.C. § 2201.

2.            Venue is proper in this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1391 (b), 1400 (b) because Plaintiff Clean Flicks of Colorado, LLC is a Colorado corporation conducting business in Colorado and the actions giving rise to the alleged copyright infringement and resulting dispute between the parties occurred in Colorado.

3.            The Plaintiffs are in the business of providing third party edits of commercial movies using a variety of technologies and methods.

4.            Plaintiff CleanFlicks of Colorado, L.L.C. (“Clean Flicks”) deploys one or more of available content editing technologies to produce a viewing experience where a member of the viewing public view can view, in the privacy of their own homes,  commercially distributed videos with objectionable content removed.

5.            Plaintiff Huntsman is an inventor with a pending patent application of a method for allowing viewers to view content edited movies.

6.            The Plaintiffs in this action deploy at least three of many possible technologies.  Each methodology may have separate legal implications, so a declaratory ruling on each methodology is sought.

7.            Plaintiff Clean Flicks utilizes a first generation widely prevalent methodology (hereby called the Clean Flicks methodology for convenience).   The Clean Flicks methodology involves targeting a new audience beyond the audience of the original work.  This new audience are individuals who are not members of the original audience because the work contains material they, the new audience, find objectionable.  Using this methodology, original movies are purchased, and third party edits are made in which objectionable content is deleted or in some cases altered in some other way, to effectively remove content deemed objectionable by a particular targeted viewing audience.  The edited version is made available to viewers, and clearly labeled as a content-edited version, both on the packaging and in the presentation with a disclaimer that the work has been edited for content.

8.            Three variations of the Clean Flicks methodology include:

a.            Methodology Clean Flicks 1A: The original and edited versions are distributed to the viewer together, allowing the viewer to choose to watch either or both versions according to his or her own personal tastes.

b.            Methodology Clean Flicks 1B: The original is preserved but rendered inoperable and replaced with the edited version.

c.            Methodology Clean Flicks 1C:  Movies are purchased by a consortium of viewers who cause an edited version to be made solely for their own personal viewing in the privacy of their own home.

9.            In all these methodologies, an original copy is purchased, and there is a one-to-one relationship to the number of purchased original versions and the number of corresponding edited versions.

10.            Plaintiff Huntsman has filed a patent application for a second generation editing technology and desires to seek licensees for his technology (hereby called the Huntsman methodology for convenience).

11.            Using the Huntsman methodology, unaltered commercial movies and separate content filters are placed in a special viewing apparatus that applies filters at viewing time, allowing the viewer to choose to apply or reject edits at viewing time by way of an enhanced remote control.

12.            Using the Huntsman methodology, no copies of the original work are made.

13.            The Defendants are directors of motion pictures who object to such third party edits and believe that such edits infringe on their trademarks and copyrights

14.            A dispute has arisen between Plaintiffs and Defendants because Plaintiffs disagree that their third party editing of commercial movies violates any trademark or copyright laws and believe that their actions set forth above are free speech and/or fair use and are protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

15.            Defendants have placed their detailed litigation plans on the internet web site of the Directors’ Guild of America ( and disclosed their plans to seek a permanent injunction to bar Plaintiffs, and other in the industry of third party content editors, from operating.  The web site even included the specific names of proposed plaintiffs and defendants for the anticipated lawsuit and a press release announcing the lawsuit.

16.            The Plaintiffs, recognizing that they were the targets of this proposed litigation, have a reasonable apprehension that an infringement lawsuit will be filed shortly by Defendants seeking to bar Plaintiffs from operating their businesses.  Accordingly, there is an actual, ripe controversy between the parties for this Court to resolve in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 2201 and Fed.R.Civ.P. 57.

WHEREFORE, The Plaintiffs respectfully request the Court enter an Order as follows:

1.            A judgment declaring that the practice of providing edited movies to the public for private home viewing using the Huntsman methodology does not offend the U.S. Constitution,  17 U.S.C. 101, et seq., (Copyright Act), or Lanham Act.

2.            A judgment declaring that the practice of providing edited movies to the public for private home viewing using each variation of the Clean Flicks methodology does not offend the U.S. Constitution,  17 U.S.C. 101 et seq. (Copyright Act), or Lanham Act.

3.            For an award of Plaintiffs= costs and attorneys= fees incurred in this action; and

4.            For such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper.


Respectfully submitted this ____ day of August, 2002.


Scott J. Mikulecky, Esq.

90 South Cascade Avenue, Suite 1500

Colorado Springs, CO  80903

Phone:  (719) 475-2440

Fax:  (719) 635-4576


David N. Schachter, Esq.

633 17th Street, Suite 3000

Denver, CO  80202

Phone:  (303) 297-2900

Fax:  (303) 298-0940

Attorneys for Plaintiffs

Plaintiff’s Address:

Idaho Business Centre

404 South 8th Street

Suite 310

Boise, ID  83702

7824B North Academy Boulevard

Colorado Springs, CO  80920

Directors Guild of America hints at lawsuit

Directors Guild of America files a lawsuit against “entities that provide unauthorized altered versions of videocassettes and/or DVDs.

Los Angeles (Aug. 20, 2002) – The Directors Guild of America (DGA) and twelve of its director members filed a lawsuit Tuesday in the U.S. Central District Court in California against seven entities that, according to the suit, wrongfully engage in or contribute to the practice of editing or altering videocassettes and/or DVDs in commerce, DGA President Martha Coolidge announced.

The defendants named in the suit are Albertsons, Inc.; Video II; Glen Dickman; J.W.D Management Corporation; Trilogy Studios, Inc., which is the producer and distributor of MovieMask software; CleanFlicks; MyCleanFlicks; and Family Shield Technologies, LLC, which is the manufacturer of a product called MovieShield.

“We are appalled at the proliferation of companies that bypass the copyright holder and the filmmaker and arbitrarily alter the creative expression and hard work of the many artists involved in filmmaking,” said DGA First Vice President Steven Soderbergh, who is one of the director plaintiffs in the lawsuit. “Many decisions and creative energy go into each scene in a film. When words are changed or images are added or subtracted, films become something other than what they were intended to be by their directors.”

Other directors whose works have been affected and who have signed on as plaintiffs include: Robert Altman, Michael Apted, Taylor Hackford, Curtis Hanson, Norman Jewison, John Landis, Michael Mann, Phillip Noyce, Brad Silberling, Betty Thomas and Irwin Winkler.

According to the complaint, the defendants are renting, selling, or distributing versions of movies, which neither the Guild’s members nor the studios authorized, and which are altered or mutilated versions of members’ works. The case states that the defendants are

in violation of the Lanham Act, which is a federal statute that prohibits false advertising, trademark infringement, and unfair competition, which has been applied to protect an artist’s right not to be associated with an unauthorized, edited version of his or her work.

In addition, the lawsuit charges the defendants with trademark dilution under both federal and California law, unfair competition under California law, and tortious interference with contract under federal law.

The DGA and director plaintiffs are asking the Court to grant a permanent injunction to stop the defendants from wrongfully distributing unauthorized versions of feature films that they have edited to remove content and language.

Following are descriptions of what the defendants are doing:

· Video II is editing films to offer “E-rated” video versions of new releases, which are then provided to all 46 Albertsons stores in Utah. Glen Dickman is the President of Video II and J.W.D. Management. Albertsons has already expressed an interest in expanding the availability of the edited films to its other stores throughout the country, including California.

· MovieMask, produced by Trilogy Studios, is software that consumers can purchase online then download into their computer to “mask” or filter frames either by editing scenes or dropping out language. On their website, they boast that future upgrades will have the ability to superimpose new images or material during the playback of the DVD. The software “masks” are currently available for 41 films, though the company says it plans to increase its library on an ongoing basis.

· CleanFlicks sells, distributes, and/or offers in commerce, versions of feature films that have been edited by CleanFlicks to remove portions of the films. Through the website, CleanFlicks sells edited videos and DVDs; through the website, MyCleanFlicks rents edited videos and DVDs. CleanFlicks also offers edited videos in its chain of video stores throughout California, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Montana, Ohio and Oregon. Like Video II, CleanFlicks removes content through cut edits and volume muting.

· Family Shield Technologies is the maker of a product called MovieShield.

MovieShield consists of three separate electronic devices: One device is connected between a VCR or DVD player and television set. A second device is portable and is used to transfer specific movie information. A third device is connected to a computer to download information into the transfer device. MovieShield uses a “patent pending” technology to determine which scene is being played in the movie. Then, using a database of timing information, MovieShield determines when to mute the sound and/or blank the video screen. The “shielding” is broken into eight different categories. These categories include: vain references to Deity; minor language; major language; nudity; sexual situations; immodesty; violence; and gore.

“It is unconscionable, and unethical, to take someone else’s hard work, alter it and profit from it,” according to DGA’s Coolidge. “Would anyone even attempt to defend ripping pages out of a book, leaving the author’s name on it, and then selling it? It is wrong for someone to distort and manipulate a film and present it to the world as the work of the filmmaker.”

For more information or press inquires please contact:

Directors Guild of America 310-289-5333