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Miramax Films Corp. v. Motion Picture Association of America, Inc.

148 Misc. 2d 1, 560 N.Y.S.2d 730 (1990)

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Miramax Films Corp. v. Motion Picture Association of America, Inc.

New York Supreme Court

148 Misc. 2d 1, 560 N.Y.S.2d 730 (1990)

Facts

Miramax Films Corp. (Miramax) (plaintiff) produced and distributed the film Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! The film was submitted to the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (the MPAA) for review and to receive a rating. The MPAA created and administered a rating system for the film industry based on the view of the average American parent. The MPAA’s board members were producers and distributors of films and television programs. The rating system assigned every film into one of the following categories: G, PG, PG-13, R, and X. Miramax’s film was submitted to a seven-member panel that unanimously determined that, due to two sexually explicit scenes, the film should receive the most severe rating of X. Miramax refused to edit or delete the scenes and instead appealed to the Ratings Appeal Board, which did not overturn the original rating. Miramax withdrew the film from the MPAA’s review and distributed it as unrated, which negatively affected the film’s success. Miramax filed suit, asking the court to either award the film an R rating, or alternatively, to have the MPAA’s rating system deemed arbitrary and capricious. The MPAA moved to dismiss the petition.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Ramos, J.)

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