United States v. Lowe's Incorporated

PETITIONER: United States
RESPONDENT: Lowe's Incorporated
LOCATION: Clauson's Inn

DOCKET NO.: 42
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 371 US 38 (1962)
ARGUED: Oct 16, 1962
DECIDED: Nov 05, 1962

Facts of the case

Question

Media for United States v. Lowe's Incorporated

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 16, 1962 in United States v. Lowe's Incorporated

Earl Warren:

Number 42, United States, Appellant, versus Loew's, Incorporated, et al.

And Number 43, and Number 44, Loew's, Incorporated et al. versus United States and C & C Super Corporation versus United States.

Mr. Friedman.

Daniel M. Friedman:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

This is a civil antitrust case, here on direct appeal to the District Court for the Southern District of New York.

It presents issues relating to the legality under Section 1 of the Sherman Act of the block booking of feature motion pictures for television exhibition and also questions relating to appropriate relief to deal with that practice.

Block booking is defined as the practice by the distributors of motion pictures of requiring television stations in order to license certain pictures, generally the pictures which they desire to also accept other pictures generally pictures which they did not desire.

And the phrase "block booking" refers to the fact that when these pictures are offered, they are generally offered in blocks of packages of varying numbers, 50, 60, or 100 and 200.

And the issue as presented arises from the fact as the District Court found that these defendants in offering the pictures had on numerous occasions refused to permit the stations to select among the packages and had required them to take the entire package.

There are six defendants in the case, each of whom is a distributor of feature motion pictures for television.

This particular case involves features known as pre-1948 features.

Those are old motion pictures that were distributed and shown in theaters prior to 1948.

The District Court held that each defendant had violated the Sherman Act by block booking and granted injunctive relief and both sides of appeal to this Court, the Government as well as five of the defendants.

Now, I might just say in passing that of course all of these motion pictures involved are copyrighted.

The issues in the case fall into two distinct categories.

There are questions relating to the substantive issues and questions relating to the relief.

The substantive issues tended by the defendants in their appeal of substantive issue was this, the defendants do not challenge the findings of the District Court that they had entered into block book contracts.

They do, however, challenge the Court's finding that these block book contracts were illegal.

The Government's appeal challenges the District Court's failure to find that a block contract arising out of another set of circumstances that I shall detail in my opinion was not illegal.

Now, on the relief issues, the defendant's appeal argues that no relief at all should have been granted against the violations which the District Court found.

Conversely, the Government's appeal argues that additional relief was required.

And in my oral argument, I shall discuss the points in that order.

First, I shall discuss the question of violation, and second, the question of relief.

But before coming to my argument at the outset, I would like to correct four errors which the defendants have pointed out that we have most regretfully made in our reply brief.

This is the brief, the United States in reply to appellant's brief in Numbers 43 and Number 44.

It's an intermediate-sized brief of 20 pages.

The first error is at page 8 about one-third of the way down in the first not full paragraph, the last sentence beginning finally one of Loew's own sales reports discloses that in September 1957, that date should be 1956.

John M. Harlan II:

What page is that please?

Daniel M. Friedman:

Page 8.

Byron R. White:

In which, Mr. Friedman?