Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
8/16/2017

Virginia Motion Picture Fair Competition Act

§ 59.1-255. Short title.

This chapter may be known and cited as the "Virginia Motion Picture Fair Competition Act."

1978, c. 764.

§ 59.1-256. Purpose of chapter.

The purpose of this chapter is to establish fair and open procedures for the bidding and negotiation for the right to exhibit motion pictures within the Commonwealth in order to prevent unfair and deceptive acts or practices and unreasonable restraints of trade in the business of motion picture distribution within the Commonwealth, to promote fair and effective competition in that business, and to ensure that exhibitors have the opportunity to view a motion picture and know its contents before committing themselves to exhibiting it in their communities.

1978, c. 764.

§ 59.1-257. Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

1. The term "person" means and includes one or more individuals, partnerships, associations, societies, trusts, organizations, or corporations;

2. The term "theater" means any establishment in which motion pictures are exhibited to the public regularly for a charge;

3. The term "distributor" means any person engaged in the business of distributing or supplying motion pictures to exhibitors by rental, sale or licensing;

4. The term "exhibitor" means any person engaged in the business of operating one or more theaters;

5. The term "exhibit" or "exhibition" means showing a motion picture to the public for a charge;

6. The term "invitation to bid" means a written or oral solicitation or invitation by a distributor to one or more exhibitors to bid for the right to exhibit a motion picture;

7. The term "bid" means a written offer or proposal by an exhibitor to a distributor in response to an invitation to bid for the right to exhibit a motion picture, stating the terms under which the exhibitor will agree to exhibit a motion picture;

8. The term "license agreement" means any contract, agreement, understanding or condition between a distributor and an exhibitor relating to the licensing or exhibition of a motion picture by the exhibitor;

9. The term "trade screening" means the showing of a motion picture by a distributor at some location within the Commonwealth or the District of Columbia or Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties, Maryland, which is open to any exhibitor from whom the distributor intends to solicit bids or with whom the distributor intends to negotiate for the right to exhibit the motion picture;

10. The term "blind bidding" means the bidding for, negotiating for, or offering or agreeing to terms for the licensing or exhibition of a motion picture at any time before such motion picture has either been trade screened within the Commonwealth or the District of Columbia or Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties, Maryland, or before such motion picture, at the option of the distributor, otherwise has been made available for viewing within the Commonwealth, or the District of Columbia or Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties, Maryland, by all exhibitors from whom the distributor is soliciting bids or with whom the distributor is negotiating for the right to exhibit such motion picture; and

11. The term "run" means the continuous exhibition of a motion picture in a defined geographic area for a specified period of time. A "first run" is the first exhibition of a picture in the designated area; a "second run" is the second exhibition; and "subsequent runs" are subsequent exhibitions after the second run. "Exclusive run" is any run limited to a single theater in a defined geographic area and a "nonexclusive run" is any run in more than one theater in a defined geographic area.

1978, c. 764.

§ 59.1-258. "Blind bidding" prohibited.

A. Blind bidding is hereby prohibited within the Commonwealth. No bids shall be returnable, no negotiations for the exhibition or licensing of a motion picture shall take place, and no license agreement or any of its terms shall be agreed to, for the exhibition of any motion picture within the Commonwealth before the motion picture has either been trade screened within the Commonwealth or the District of Columbia or Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties, Maryland, or before such motion picture, at the option of the distributor, otherwise has been made available for viewing within the Commonwealth or the District of Columbia or Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties, Maryland, by all exhibitors from whom the distributor is soliciting bids or with whom the distributor is negotiating for the right to exhibit the motion picture.

B. A distributor shall provide reasonable and uniform notice of the trade screening of any motion picture to those exhibitors within the Commonwealth from whom he intends to solicit bids or with whom he intends to negotiate for the right to exhibit that motion picture.

C. Any purported waiver of the prohibition against blind bidding in this chapter shall be void and unenforceable.

1978, c. 764.

§ 59.1-259. Bidding procedures.

If bids are solicited from exhibitors for the licensing of a motion picture within the Commonwealth, then:

1. The invitation to bid shall specify (i) whether the run for which the bid is being solicited is a first, second or subsequent run; (ii) whether the run is an exclusive or nonexclusive run; (iii) the geographic area for the run; (iv) the names of all exhibitors who are being solicited; (v) the date and hour the invitation to bid expires; and (vi) the time, date and the location, including the address, where the bids will be opened, which shall be within the Commonwealth or the District of Columbia or Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.

2. All bids shall be submitted in writing and shall be opened at the same time and in the presence of those exhibitors, or their agents, who submitted bids and are present at such time.

3. Immediately upon being opened, the bids shall be subject to examination by exhibitors, or their agents, who submitted bids, and who are present at the opening. Within ten business days after the bids are opened, the distributor shall notify each exhibitor who submitted a bid either the name of the winning bidder or the fact that none of the bids was acceptable.

4. Once bids are solicited, the distributor shall license the picture only by bidding and may solicit rebids if he does not accept any of the submitted bids.

1978, c. 764.

§ 59.1-260. Civil enforcement; injunction.

Any person who suffers loss or pecuniary damage resulting from a violation of the provisions of this chapter shall be entitled to bring an individual action to recover damages and reasonable attorney's fees. The provisions of this chapter may be enforced by injunction or any other available equitable or legal remedy.

1978, c. 764.

§ 59.1-261. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2015, c. 709, cl. 2.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

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