Episode 19: Movie Ratings and Filtering Software
Online Editor Anthony Zangrillo is joined by Staff Member Andrew Washburn to discuss some legal topics within the film industry. Last semester, Andrew wrote a blog post on a recent California District Court decision, holding that movie ratings are not “pure commercial speech” and therefore are protected by the First Amendment.1 Anthony and Andrew examine a list of tobacco and alcohol use in famous children’s animation films, like Pinnochio and Space Jam, and explore the policy arguments on both side of the ratings/First Amendment debate.
Then, Anthony introduces the recent VidAngel decision involving the legality of a service that provides streams of filtered Hollywood movies. While there are obvious public policy benefits to this service, the VidAngel company appears to have tried to follow the prior Aereo decision to support the legality of their business to the dismay of copyright holders. While the movie studios, led by Disney, won the case against VidAngel, Anthony and Andrew expand some of the possible antitrust issues raised by this decision in the context of the filtering market.
Finally, Anthony and Andrew talk about the ratings of the Star Wars Franchise and the initial introduction of the popular PG-13 rating, championed by the legendary director Steven Spielberg.
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