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Open Access Publications from the University of California

UCLA Entertainment Law Review

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The UCLA Entertainment Law Review (“ELR”) is an international law journal published once or twice a year by the UCLA School of Law. Since 1994, ELR’s staff has worked diligently to bring to our subscribers academic work of the highest quality, as well as articles that tackle the most novel and cutting edge issues in the field of entertainment law.

UCLA Entertainment Law Review

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Fighting Chinese Censorship of U.S. Films by Denying Filmmakers U.S. Government Assistance: An Examination of the Proposed SCRIPT Act

In order to distribute their films in China, U.S. filmmakers must submit them to Chinese censors for approval, which frequently require changes to films to portray China and the Chinese in a more favorable light.  Given the millions of dollars to potentially be made in the large Chinese market, filmmakers have been willing to comply with Chinese censors, and have even begun to censor themselves by anticipating China’s concerns and tailoring their films appropriately.  In this way, China is able to influence the way it is portrayed in films not just for audiences in China, but in the United States and around the world.  To combat the spread of Chinese propaganda in this way, Senator Ted Cruz introduced a bill, dubbed the SCRIPT Act, that would prohibit filmmakers from obtaining government assistance with their films unless they refrain from making changes to film content to accommodate the Chinese government.  This Article examines whether the SCRIPT Act, by denying government support to filmmakers based on the content of their films, violates the First Amendment.  While a bill might be crafted to do this in a way consistent with constitutional requirements, certain aspects of the SCRIPT Act make it likely to be unconstitutional.

The Application of the Sales Comparison Affiliate Transaction Provision to New, In-House Streaming Transactions Involving Historical Television Programs, and Their Impact on Profit Participants

In this Article, the Authors discuss how the rise of in-house streaming services will impact profit participation.  Specifically, this Article discusses: (1) the vertical integration of the television industry, including the recent advent of in-house streaming services exhibiting content produced by their related-party studios; (2) the context in which the Sales Comparison ATP became a standard provision in profit participant agreements and how this history aids in its interpretation; (3) the meaning and purpose of each sentence and term in the Sales Comparison ATP; and (4) a roadmap for how profit participants may be able to leverage the Sales Comparison ATP to preserve their rights as entertainment conglomerates increasingly use their own streaming platforms to exhibit the valuable library television programs that they own.

Moral Bars to Intellectual Property: Theory & Apologetics

Various intellectual creations are raising complex moral issues in intellectual property law.  Videos of mass shootings made by perpetrators, statues of the Confederacy displayed openly, torture techniques used on criminal detainees, and devices for consuming illegal drugs are only a few examples.  These expressive and inventive works pose the question of whether their apparent immoral nature should preclude intellectual property protection.  Although courts and scholars have long debated moral values in intellectual property doctrines, the literature is largely silent on the effect of intellectual property theory.  The question thus arises: Do the utilitarian, labor-desert, and autonomy theories of intellectual property imply that morality is relevant to whether a work should receive patent or copyright protection?  This is a critical question left unanswered by the scholarship and jurisprudence dealing with intellectual property and morality.  This Article considers the question.

This Article posits that each theory of intellectual property suggests that moral values should inform whether intellectual works receive protection.  The Article then contemplates likely objections, responding to arguments that academics have raised against the position that moral values should define intellectual property.  Specifically, it responds to the argument that denying protection in some instances may increase the output of an immoral work, that laws in areas other than intellectual property should address moral problems, and that the government should not interfere with the laissez-faire approach of letting the public decide the moral worth of an intellectual creation.  The Article concludes that, within constitutional limitations, certain moral values may serve as reasons to deny intellectual property protection.


“Oh [Yes], She Betta [Should]!”: Dolling Up Drag Queens’ Intellectual Property Rights

For centuries, drag performance has persisted as a socially complicated art form inextricably tied to the LGBTQ+ community.  Historically, prevailing audiences often labeled the art form and the queer community as unconventional and threatening.  As a result, drag art’s sudden acceptance by the same mainstream crowd is both satisfying and precarious from an intellectual property perspective.  This Comment examines the development of drag through its heightened popularity in entertainment today, where drag artists are faced with insufficient intellectual property protections unfit for dynamic queer art.

The Streaming Wars+: An Analysis of Anticompetitive Business Practices in Streaming Business

The recent rise of streaming platforms currently benefits consumers with quality content offerings at free or at relatively low cost.  However, as these companies’ market power expands through vertical integration, current antitrust laws may be insufficient to protect consumers from potential longterm harms, such as increased prices, lower quality and variety of content, or erosion of data privacy.  It is paramount to determining whether streaming services engage in anticompetitive business practices to protect both competition and consumers.

Though streaming companies do not violate existing antitrust laws because consumers are not presently harmed, this Comment thus explores whether streaming companies are engaging in aggressive business practices with the potential to harm consumers.  The oligopolistic streaming industry is combined with enormous barriers to entry, practices of predatory pricing, imperfect price discrimination, bundling, disfavoring of competitors on their platforms, huge talent buyouts, and nontransparent use of consumer data, which may be reason for concern.  This Comment will examine the history of the entertainment industry and antitrust laws to discern where the current business practices of the streaming companies fit into the antitrust analysis.  This Comment then considers potential solutions to antitrust concerns such as increasing enforcement, reforming the consumer welfare standard, public utility regulation, prophylactic bans on vertical integration, divestiture, and fines.