Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

U.S. Department of Justice Seeks to End Anti-Monopoly Laws Regulating Film Distribution

Alex Weprin, the Hollywood Reporter:

In a speech Monday to the American Bar Association, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim said that the DOJ’s Antitrust Division is moving to terminate the decrees, “except for a two-year sunset period on the bans on block booking and circuit dealing.” The sunset period is designed to allow the movie studios and theater chains time to adjust to the change. The DOJ will require court approval to terminate the Consent Decrees.

“We have determined that the decrees, as they are, no longer serve the public interest, because the horizontal conspiracy — the original violation animating the decrees — has been stopped,” said Delrahim.

Translation: because the policy has worked for a very long time, it’s time to get rid of it. What kind of logical catastrophe could possibly encourage such a categorically stupid position?

The DOJ antitrust division announced in August 2018 that it would be reviewing the Paramount Decrees, which were created after the 1948 Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Paramount Pictures. The major film studios at the time essentially controlled all aspects of filmmaking, from the talent to the productions to the theaters. The Supreme Court ruling and the Consent Decrees have been in force, with no sunset period, ever since.

It’s pretty wild how easily the ISPs that have become multimedia conglomerates are escaping investigation into possible antitrust violations. While the DOJ is looking into big tech companies, it is simultaneously eager to allow increasing dominance by Disney as well as telecom companies that own movie studios. Hanlon’s razor is getting duller by the day.