Violence & Entertainment - O’Melveny & Myers’ Bobby Schwartz Featured in Variety Special Report

January 29, 2013


As part of its January 18, 2013 issue on violence in America, Variety asked O’Melveny partner Bobby Schwartz to address civil liability and government regulation of content and advertising for motion picture and television programs that depict violence. It can be found here. An excerpt follows.

When an act of mass murder occurs, the entertainment industry is invariably put on a shortlist of potential culprits. Critics assert that movies and television programs depict violence excessively and insensitively, market the content inappropriately and are responsible for creating a culture of violence and inhumanity. Some also ask whether the entertainment industry is culpable not only morally, but legally. The answer should be no. Usually, the courts or the legislative system are invoked in an attempt to impose liability on filmmakers and distributors for allegedly inspiring the perpetrators to commit their heinous acts. Alternatively, the legal system is asked to regulate the content — or at least the advertising — of motion pictures, television programs, videogames and other expressive works. Having represented industry members in both areas, it’s my opinion that our resources would be better spent looking elsewhere for solutions.

This memorandum is a summary for general information and discussion only and may be considered an advertisement for certain purposes. It is not a full analysis of the matters presented, may not be relied upon as legal advice, and does not purport to represent the views of our clients or the Firm. Bobby Schwartz, an O'Melveny partner to practice law in California and the District of Columbia contributed to the content of this newsletter. The views expressed in this newsletter are the views of the authors except as otherwise noted.

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