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MOTION-PICTURE FILMS

MONDAY, MAY 13, 1940

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON INTERSTATE AND FOREIGN COMMERCE,

Washington, D. C. The committee met at 10 a. m., Hon. Clarence Lea (chairman) presiding.

The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order, please.

We have met this morning to begin hearings on S. 280, a bill to prohibit and to prevent the trade practices known as compulsory block booking and blind selling in the leasing of motion-picture films in interstate and foreign commerce.

(The bill referred to follows:)

(S. 280, 76th Cong., 3d sess.)

AN ACT To prohibit and to prevent the trade practices known as "compulsory block booking" and

“blind selling" in the leasing of motion-picture films in interstate and foreign commerce Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States o America in Congress assembled, That the methods of distribution of motionpicture films in commerce whereby (a) exhibitors are required to lease all or a specified number of an offered group of films in order to obtain any individual desired film or films in the group, a trade practice sometimes known as compulsory block booking, and (b) films are leased before they are produced and without opportunity for the exhibitor to ascertain the content of such films, a trade practice sometimes known as blind selling, are hereby declared to be contrary to public policy in that such practices interfere with the free and informed selection of films on the part of exhibitors and prevent the people of the several States and the local communities thereof from influencing such selection in the best interests of the public, and tend to create a monopoly in the production, distribution, and exhibition of films. The Congress finds and declares that such methods and practices adversely affect and constitute a burden upon commerce, and it is the purpose of this Act to prohibit and to prevent such methods and practices in commerce.

Sec. 2. For the purposes of this Act, unless the context otherwise requires

(1) The term "motion-picture film" or "film" means all motion-picture films (whether copyrighted or uncopyrighted), including positive and negative prints, and copies or reproductions of such prints, which films contain photoplays or other subjects and are produced for public exhibition: Provided, That the term shall not include films commonly known as "news reels” or other films containing picturizations of news events, or short subjects of two thousand feet or less in length.

(2) The term "to lease” includes the making of a license agreement, contracts, or any type of agreement whereby a film, the distribution of which is controlled by one of the parties, is to be supplied to and exhibited in a theater owned, controlled, or operated by the other party.

(3) The term “person" includes an individual, partnership, association, jointstock company, trust, or corporation.

(4) The term "distributor" includes any person who engages or contracts to engage in the distribution of motion-picture films.

(5) The term "exhibitor" includes any person who engages or contracts to engage in the exhibition of motion-picture films.

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