New bill takes aim at film trading

Senate Agriculture Committee passes reform with ban

The Senate Agriculture Committee passed financial reform legislation today that includes a ban on trading based on a movie’s box office performance.

The bill was introduced last week by Senate Agriculture Committee chairwoman Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), and the provision regarding film futures came after intense lobbying by the entertainment industry in their efforts to put a stop to two proposed exchanges.

The Trend Exchange and the Cantor Exchange have each been granted approval by federal regulators, but they have yet to get the greenlight for the trading on contracts based on box office figures.

The ban on film futures trading still has a way to go before it becomes law. Lincoln’s bill, which was aimed at regulating Wall Street derviatives, is expected to be combined with a larger financial regulatory overhaul before it reaches the Senate floor. And then, it must be reconciled with a House financial overhaul and pass both chambers before it reaches President Obama.

But in what may be a good sign for the MPAA and other industry groups trying the halt the trading before it starts, the provision was not brought up at all during the Agriculture Committee hearing on Wednesday. In other words, no lawmaker has yet to make a move to pull it out of the legislation.

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