Will a Jury Decide That WB-TV Made Sweetheart Deals With WB Stations, Denying "Smallville" Producers Profits? Antitrust and Today's Hollywood

As students of film history know, the American motion picture business has run afoul of antitrust law a number of times.

First their was the MPPC - a cartel of companies organized by Thomas Edison between 1908 and 1915.

Then, there were the "consent decrees" of the late 1940s and early 1950s (that spelled the end of the studio system), when the major studios that produced and distributed films had to divest themselves of the movie theaters they also owned.

This issue, of alleged unfair trade practices at the big studios, continues.

Someday soon, according to a September 4th, 2012 Hollywood Reporter post by Eriq Gardner "[a] jury will hear a dispute over whether the creators and executive producers of Smallville [2001-2011] were robbed of profits by Warner Bros. TV, the studio behind the successful TV series."

The basic question in the Smallville case is whether "the showrunners were deprived of about $13 million by not getting as much as they could when WBTV made its deals with affiliates instead of outside companies."

There are valid arguments on both sides. What do you think?

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Thoughts from a film producer about making and distributing films.