The Department of Justice said today that the Producers Guild of America’s certification system to distinguish full-on film producers from “financiers, actors, lawyers or others in the entertainment industry who may bargain for a generic producer credit in return for their services” would likely not reduce competition among producers or studios and should benefit the industry by providing transparency. The review ruling gives the guild the all-clear in regard to its system — which is voluntary — having anticompetitive effects. “We’re extremely pleased that the U.S. Department of Justice has fully endorsed the Producers Guild’s certification mark,” the PGA said in a statement. ”The DOJ’s critical decision clearly and definitively paves the way for swift adoption of the Producers’ Mark, as there should be no further resistance from the motion picture studios to participate in the ‘p.g.a.’ certification program. We stand in solidarity with our nearly 5,000 Guild members, in our belief that the entire industry benefits from recognizing producers for their work.”
Here’s the DOJ release:
WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice announced today that it will not challenge the Producers Guild of America’s proposed use of a voluntary certification system for film producers. Based on the representations made by the Guild, the department said that the proposed voluntary certification system is unlikely to reduce competition among producers or film studios for producer services and could provide clarity to the film industry and the public.
The Department of Justice’s position was stated in a business review letter to counsel for the Guild from Sharis A. Pozen, Acting Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.
With this certification, the Guild aims to distinguish those who perform what it considers to be the full range of producer’s duties on a film from those financiers, actors, lawyers or others in the entertainment industry who may bargain for a generic producer credit in return for their services. The Guild proposes using the certification “p.g.a.” after a person’s name in the work’s credits to clarify who performed the producing functions on a film as defined by the Guild’s specifications. According to the Guild, a producer who earns the “p.g.a.” certification will have been involved in all phases of development of a work, from its conceptual stage all the way through post-production and marketing.
“The Producers Guild’s certification program may benefit the film industry and the public by providing a way to discern who performed the full range of producer functions on a film,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Pozen. “The Guild’s certification program may make it easier to identify some of the key executives in bringing a film to theaters.”
Based on the representations and information provided by the Guild, the department determined that the Guild’s proposal is not likely to harm competition in the provision of producer services. Participation in the certification program is voluntary for both producers and movie studios, and the certification program does not restrain in any way the ability of studios to hire producers without “p.g.a” certification or of producers without certification to work in the film industry.
Under the department’s business review procedure, an organization may submit a proposed action to the Antitrust Division and receive a statement as to whether the division currently intends to challenge the action under the antitrust laws based on the information provided. The department reserves its right to challenge the proposed action under the antitrust laws if it produces anticompetitive effects.
A file containing the business review request and the department’s response may be examined in the Antitrust Division’s Antitrust Documents Group, U.S. Department of Justice, 450 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 1010, Washington, D.C. 20530. After a 30-day waiting period, the documents supporting the business review will be added to the file, unless a basis for their exclusion for reasons of confidentiality has been established under the Business Review Procedure.