Government & Law Collection

HUAC publication cover

The history of the American media industries is intertwined with the histories of American politics and law. The media industries have been both empowered and constrained by numerous laws, including copyright, censorship, and antitrust. At certain points in history, Hollywood has sought to influence politics and the development of laws. However, the same visibility that gives Hollywood cultural influence has made it a frequent target of governments determined to leave their own mark on culture.

The “Government & Law Collection” contains transcripts, decisions, and proceedings that chart the interplay between Hollywood, politics, and law. The collection includes extensive documentation relating to the House Committee on Un-American Activities’ infamous investigations into communists in Hollywood. Documents concerning economic regulation, censorship, and juvenile delinquency can also be found on this page. Most of the items in this collection were published by the U.S. Government Printing Office and digitized by the Internet Archive.

Organized by Subject

Censorship (1914-1921, 3 items)

  • Motion Picture Commission: hearings before the Committee on Education, House of Representatives, Sixty-third Congress, second session, on bills to establish a Federal Motion Picture Commission (1914) | Read | Download |
  • Memorandum for His Excellency, the Governor of New York, in opposition to an act entitled "To regulate the exhibition of motion pictures, creating a commission therefor, and making an appropriation therefor (1921) | Read | Download |
  • Movie ratings and the independent producer : a report of the Subcommittee on Special Small Business Problems of the Committee on Small Business, House of Representatives, Ninety-fifth Congress, second session(1978) | Read | Download |

Communism & the Blacklist (1947-1956, 13 items)

  • Hearings regarding the communist infiltration of the motion picture industry. Hearings before the Committee on Un-American Activities, House of Representatives, Eightieth Congress, first session. Public law 601 (section 121, subsection Q (2)) (1947) | Read | Download |
  • Communist infiltration of Hollywood motion-picture industry : hearing before the Committee on Un-American activities, House of Representatives, Eighty-second Congress, first session (1951)
    Vol. 1 | Read | Download |
    Vol. 2 | Read | Download |
    Vol. 3 | Missing
    Vol. 4 | Read | Download |
    Vol. 5 | Read | Download |
    Vol. 6 | Read | Download |
    Vol. 7 | Read | Download |
    Vol. 8 | Read | Download |
    Vol. 9 | Read | Download |
    Vol. 10 | Read | Download |
  • Investigation of so-called "blacklisting" in entertainment industry; report of the Fund for the Republic, inc. Hearings before the Committee on Un-American Activities, House of Representatives, Eighty-fourth Congress, second session (1956)
    Vol. 1 | Read | Download |
    Vol. 2 | Read | Download |
    Vol. 3 | Read | Download |

Economic Regulation (1912-1940, 8 items)

  • Original Petition, USA v. Motion Picture Patents Company - The United States of America (1912) | Read | Download |
  • Brief for Appellees Motion Picture Patents Company and Edison Manufacturing Company - George Melies Company (1913) | Read | Download |
  • Brief for the United States - Motion Picture Patents Company (1914) | Read | Download |
  • Reply Brief for the United States - Motion Picture Patents Company (1914) | Read | Download |
  • Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Brief in Support Thereof - Motion Picture Patents Company (1916) | Read | Download |
  • Report Regarding Investigation Directed to be Made by the President in His Executive Order of November 27, 1933, Approving the Code of Fair Competition for the Motion Picture Industry (1934) | Read | Download |
  • Money Behind the Screen (1937) | Read | Download |
  • Investigation of concentration of economic power; monograph no. 43: The motion picture industry-- a pattern of control (1940) | Read | Download |

Intellectual Property & Film Preservation (1979-1995, 2 items)

  • National Archives and Records Service film-vault fire at Suitland, Md. : hearings before a subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations, House of Representatives, Ninety-sixth Congress, first session (1979) | Read | Download |
  • Copyright term, film labeling, and film preservation legislation : hearings before the Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, on H.R. 989, H.R. 1248, and H.R. 1734 (1995) | Read | Download |

The Fatty Arbuckle Case (1962, 1 item)

Juvenile Delinquency (1955, 1 item)

  • Juvenile delinquency (motion picture) Hearings before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Eighty-fourth Congress, first session, pursuant to S. Res. 62, investigation of Juvenile delinquency in the United States (1955) | Read | Download |

Organized Labor (1948, 3 items)

  • Jurisdictional disputes in the motion-picture Industry : hearings before a special subcommittee of the Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives, Eightieth Congress, first-session, pursuant to H. Res. 111 (Eightieth Congress) (1948)

  • Vol. 1 | Read | Download |
    Vol. 2 | Read | Download |
    Vol. 3 | Read | Download |

See also the U.S. vs. Motion Picture Patents Company in the Early Cinema Collection. Thanks to funding from Domitor and materials loaned by the Museum of Modern Art, you can read the seven volumes of testimonies and supporting documents from the U.S. District Court's 1912-1913 antitrust lawsuit against the Motion Picture Patents Company (MPPC).