What it does: The Cuts.com platform is software that lets you make "cuts" to copyrighted material that you own in order to make "age appropriate" movies, shortened versions of content (compress a long TV show into its most important parts) or create "new" content (such as a "make your own commentary" track on a favorite film). The cuts that users make then can be uploaded and shared with the Cuts.com community, so others can see what cuts you made or look for other content (if they just want to watch instead of participate in the editing).
At the moment, viewing the modified content would only be available on PCs, but with media center PC systems beginning to appear that let users connect computers to a TV, a savvy user could do this all in their living room.
Why it's cool: Unlike hardware that automatically cuts inappropriate content from the DVD, the software lets parents make decisions about what parts of the movie they want their kids to see. Don't like the shark scene in "Finding Nemo?" Cut it out and leave everything else in.
Is it legal? The Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005 allows people to skip audio and video content of motion pictures, or the use of technology to accomplish the same result. The company says because the Cuts.com system lets owners of the content modify their experience and doesn't create a new fixed version, it doesn't violate any copyright or trademark laws. Further, the "cut lists" that are uploaded and shared are just descriptions of the cuts – anyone who downloads the cut list still needs the original content in order to view the modified content.
Who will use this? Parents who want to let their kids watch movies but not without objectionable content. Fans of movies who want to provide their own commentary tracks. Film students who want annotated versions of films to watch. Star Wars fans who want to watch Episode I without Jar Jar Binks.
How will the company make money? Potential revenue streams include: 1) Offering of "premium cuts" – cut lists created by famous people offering commentary. 2) Affiliate fees from online movie download services, such as Guba, CinemaNow. 3) Advertising opportunities, such as video ads placed within movies. 4) Subscription model – pay monthly fee for watching cuts or receiving pre-made cut lists.
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