In the Spielberg-Netflix beef, the Ministry of Justice chooses the right side


Steven Spielberg and Netflix have been in a tiffand now the Department of Justice is playing at the referee.

Spielberg wants to change the rules of the Academy of Arts and Film Sciences, limiting Oscar's eligibility for movies produced by streaming services such as Netflix.

But the DOJ has an opinion on this. He says the rule change may violate federal antitrust laws. Last month, the head of the antitrust division of the department sent a letter to the director of the Academy, Dawn Hudson, highlighting the legal dilemma.

"In the event that the Academy – an association that has several competitors among its members – establishes certain conditions of Oscar eligibility that eliminate competition without pro-competitive justification, such conduct may give rise to antitrust concerns," he said. writes Makan Delrahim, Deputy Attorney General in charge of the antitrust division.

According to the Sherman Act, Delrahim explained that the government "prohibits anticompetitive agreements between competitors".

In response, a spokesman for the academy told Variety in which members have "reacted accordingly" and will discuss the proposed changes at the annual meeting of the Board of Directors on the rules for awarding awards to be held later this month. Spielberg, a member of the board of directors, may be forced to change his mind.

The letter from the Department of Justice is just another reason why the academy should maintain its old rules. Spielberg's campaign against Netflix, Amazon and Hulu is based on the misconception that watching a movie in a theater means something for the artistic experience. His outmoded crusade would thwart such films as Netflix's "Roma", which won the Best Foreign Language Film Award, Best Director and Best Cinematography at the Oscars this year.

"Once you have engaged in a television format, you are a TV movie," Spielberg said. told ITV News last year. If you have a good show, you deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar. I do not believe that films that receive only symbolic qualifications in some theaters for less than a week may qualify for the Oscar nomination. "

But they should. Many shabby movies are shown in the country's cinemas, while streaming services keep independent filmmakers on the map.

Fortunately for movie buffs, Washington has a message for the academy. For his own legal security and the interest of a large, low-budget cinema, he should listen.

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