Thursday, July 29, 2010

What about "R" movie trailers embedded in blog postings?

I’ve noticed that a few smaller motion picture distributors place on YouTube trailers that (even as trailers) have been rated “R” and presumably contain material that might have met the definition of HTM had COPA been upheld. In one case (with Screen Media Films) an entire R rated film was placed on YouTube, but could only be viewed by those having YouTube accounts and logging on, which was supposed to provide evidence of being over 18.

In these cases, embed code was offered. Therefore, the interesting question arises that, had COPA been upheld or should some other form of COPA be passed in the future and meet constitutional challenges, could a blogger be violating COPA when using the embed code on a “commercial” blog (one with any paid advertising)?

Generally, when embed code is used, the first image of the video appears, and generally, as a practical matter, the image is not likely itself to contain HTM (“harmful to minors”) aspects. It’s only if the video is played from the embed that such images would later appear on the visitor’s computer, embedded within the blog posting as still visible. I don’t know if opinions were ever offered as to whether this would have violated COPA or any TOS provisions.

As a precautionary matter, I don’t embed trailers that themselves are rated R (it’s OK to embed a trailer for an R movie, but the trailer should not contain R images). Larger motion picture companies usually provide trailers that themselves are approved for all audiences. All distributors ought to do the same.

It would be interesting to wonder if ICRA content labeling could be placed in embeddable trailers.

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