COMMENTS: Valentiís Legacy

On the day that Jack Valenti died, the former Hollywood leader who lobbied against copyright piracy and introduced the sex-and-violence rating system for movies, a pair of apt stories surfaced. From Hollywood, NBC's Jennifer London brought us the tale of Lucky and Flo, sniffer dogs trained to search out the chemicals used to manufacture movie DVDs. The "tail-wagging operatives" were unleashed in the arcades of Kuala Lumpur and are soon heading for Manila to protect blockbusters such as Spider-Man 3 from bootlegging pirates.

Meanwhile inside the Beltway, the Federal Communications Commission has informed Congress that it would not violate the First Amendment if it passed regulations to shield child viewers from violent content on television. Possible new rules include restrictions on early evening content and the unbundling of cable TV channels so that households can subscribe singly. ABC's Lisa Stark (subscription required) called "a la carte" cable "an option with broad appeal." Yet Stark doubted that any changes would survive a "fierce fight from the industry" and subsequent anti-censorship battles in the courts.

NBC's co-anchor Campbell Brown properly informed us that her network is part of the Hollywood anti-piracy trade group. ABC's Stark was remiss in failing to inform us of Disney's stake in the FCC's proposed crackdown, especially as one example of cable a la carte she quoted advocated the separation of Disney Channel from FX.


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