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US: DOJ formally files motion to terminate Paramount decrees

 |  November 24, 2019

The Department of Justice (DOJ) formally filed a motion in federal court in the Southern District of New York Friday, November 22, to terminate what’s commonly known as the Paramount consent decrees, the rulings that ended the studio system of Old Hollywood in 1948.

The rulings placed restrictions on studios owning movie theater chains and limited practices in distribution known as “block booking” and “circuit dealing.”

“The Paramount decrees long ago ended the horizontal conspiracy among movie companies in the 1930s and ’40s and undid the effects of that conspiracy on the marketplace,” assistant attorney general Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s antitrust division said in a statement. “The Division has concluded that these decrees have served their purpose, and their continued existence may actually harm American consumers by standing in the way of innovative business models for the exhibition of America’s great creative films,” reported the Hollywood Reporter. 

The DOJ announced a review of 1,300 legacy antitrust judgments in August 2018, including a review of the Paramount decrees, and opened a 60-day public comment period. Hollywood organizations like the National Association of Theater Owners and the Writers Guild of America West weighed in with their defenses of why the decrees were still necessary. After Delrahim announced on Monday plans to terminate the decrees, the organizations stated they stood by their initial public comments and would respond further after the DOJ formally filed its motion in court.

Full Content: DOJ, Hollywood Reporter

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