United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc.

United States V. Paramount Pictures, Inc.

United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc.

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Description:
United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc., 334 US 131 (1948) (also known as the Hollywood Antitrust Case of 1948, the Paramount Case, the Paramount Decision or the Paramount Decree) was a landmark United States Supreme Court anti-trust case that decided the fate of movie studios owning their own theatres and holding exclusivity rights on which theatres would show their films. It would also change the way Hollywood movies were produced, distributed, and exhibited. The Court held in this case that the existing distribution scheme was in violation of the antitrust laws of the United States, which prohibit certain exclusive dealing arrangements.

The case is important both in U.S. antitrust law and film history. In the former, it remains a seminal decision in vertical integration cases; in the latter, it is seen as the first nail in the coffin of the old Hollywood studio system.

Background

The legal issues originated in the silent era, when the Federal Trade Commission began investigating film companies for potential violations under the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890.

The major film studios owned the theaters where their motion pictures were shown, either in partnerships or outright and complete. Thus specific theater chains showed only the films produced by the studio that owned them. The studios created the films, had the writers, directors, producers and actors on staff ("under contract" as it was called), owned the film processing and laboratories, created the...
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