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Films Act 1985

Status:

This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

1Repeal of Films Acts 1960 to 1980 and abolition of Cinematograph Films Council

(1)The Films Acts 1960 to 1980 are hereby repealed.

(2)The Cinematograph Films Council (which is constituted in accordance with Schedule 1 to the Films Act 1960) shall accordingly cease to exist.

(3)Where anything purporting to have been done by or in relation to that Council was done before the passing of this Act at a time when the Council was constituted otherwise than as required by law it shall be treated as not having been rendered invalid by reason of the Council's having been so constituted.

2Provisions relating to termination of levy on film exhibitors

(1)In this section—

  • " the 1981 Act" means the Film Levy Finance Act 1981;

  • "the final levy period" means the period which began on 14th October 1984 and in respect of which a levy is imposed in accordance with regulations having effect as if made under section 2 of the 1981 Act (levy on film exhibitors), and "the levy regulations" means those regulations; and

  • " the final distribution period " means the period which began on 14th October 1984 and in respect of which payments are required to be made by the British Film Fund Agency in accordance with regulations made under section 6 of the 1981 Act (payments to makers of British films) and " the distribution regulations" means those regulations.

(2)In relation to the final levy period section 2(3) of the 1981 Act (minimum and maximum amounts to be yielded by way of levy in respect of each levy period) shall have effect as if for " neither less than £2 million nor more than £12 million " there were substituted

not more than £12 million.

(3)In relation to that period section 4 of that Act (payments out of levy to National Film Finance Corporation) shall have effect as if—

(a)in subsection (1) for the words from " falling wholly " onwards there were substituted

such proportion (not exceeding in amount £1-5 million) of the amount received by the Agency in respect of that period as proceeds of the levy as the Secretary of State may determine.; and

(b)subsection (2) were omitted.

(4)If the Secretary of State by order so provides, both the final levy period and the final distribution period shall, instead of ending with 12th October 1985 as provided by the levy regulations and the distribution regulations respectively, end with such earlier date as may be specified in the order; and accordingly, in that case—

(a)any reference to the final levy period in the levy regulations, in section 4 of the 1981 Act or in this section shall be construed as a reference to that period as modified by virtue of this subsection ;

(b)any reference to the final distribution period in the distribution regulations or in section 4 of this Act shall be construed as a reference to that period as so modified ; and

(c)any reference to 12th October 1985 in the distribution regulations shall be construed as a reference to the date specified in the order.

(5)The Secretary of State may by order repeal the 1981 Act as from a date specified in the order.

(6)Any order under this section shall be made by statutory instrument.

3Dissolution of National Film Finance Corporation

(1)The power of the Secretary of State under paragraph 8 of Schedule 1 to the National Film Finance Corporation Act 1981 to make, with the approval of the Treasury, an order dissolving the National Film Finance Corporation in the circumstances mentioned in sub-paragraph (1) of that paragraph shall include power to make, with the like approval, an order dissolving the Corporation at any time after the relevant date and before the end of 1985. In this subsection " the relevant date " means 12th October 1985 or such earlier date as may be specified in an order under section 2(4) of this Act.

(2)Where in consequence of an order under the said paragraph 8 (whether made by virtue of subsection (1) or not)—

(a)any property or right of the Corporation becomes vested in the Secretary of State ; or

(b)any amount is received by the Secretary of State in respect of any such property or right,

the Secretary of State shall deal with that property, right or amount in such manner as he thinks fit for any purpose connected with the British film industry.

(3)Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (2), the Secretary of State may, in pursuance of that subsection—

(a)pay any amount received by him as there mentioned to the British Film Fund Agency for distribution in accordance with section 4(1);

(b)arrange for the transfer in accordance with subsection (4) of any right to which that subsection applies.

(4)The Secretary of State may, in the case of any right to which this subsection applies, arrange for the right to be transferred, on such conditions as he thinks fit, to any British company or partnership in whose case he is satisfied as to the following matters, namely—

(a)that the company or partnership will use its best endeavours to encourage the production of relevant films on a commercially successful basis ; and

(b)that it is willing and able to make financial facilities available to persons who wish to arrange for the production of relevant films; and, subject to any such conditions, the company or partnership may dispose of the right (whether wholly or to any lesser extent) and retain any sums accruing therefrom.

(5)Subsection (4) applies to—

(a)any copyright or share of a copyright or any licence granted under a copyright;

(b)any right in, or relating to the exploitation of, a film and not within paragraph (a).

(6)Where in consequence of any such order as is mentioned in subsection (2) any liability of the Corporation becomes vested in the Secretary of State, the Secretary of State may arrange for the liability to be transferred, on such terms as may be agreed between him and the company or partnership, to any British company or partnership in whose case he is satisfied as to the matters mentioned in paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (4).

(7)In this section—

  • " British company " means a company incorporated under the laws of Great Britain, being a company—

    (i)

    (i) over which a Commonwealth citizen has control, or two or more Commonwealth citizens are together in a position to exercise control, or

    (ii)

    (ii) over which a company which is a British company by virtue of the preceding provisions of this definition has control, or two or more such companies or such a company and a Commonwealth citizen are together in a position to exercise control;

  • " British partnership " means a limited partnership formed in accordance with the Limited Partnerships Act 1907 in which the general partner within the meaning of that Act, or (as the case may be) each of the general partners, is a British company ;

  • " control ", in relation to a company, means the power of a person or combination of persons to secure—

    (i)

    (i) by means of the holding of shares or the possession of voting power in or in relation to that company or any other body corporate, or

    (ii)

    (ii) by virtue of any powers conferred by the articles of association or other document regulating that company or any other body corporate, that the affairs of the company are conducted in accordance with the wishes of that person or those persons ;

  • " relevant film " means a film which is intended to satisfy (whether wholly or to a substantial extent) the conditions that must be satisfied under Schedule 1 to this Act for a film to be a British film for the purposes of that Schedule.

(8)Paragraph 8(4) of Schedule 1 to the National Film Finance Corporation Act 1981 (payments into Consolidated Fund, or out of money provided by Parliament, in connection with dissolution of Corporation) shall cease to have effect; and

the Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument repeal the remaining provisions of that Act as from a date specified in the order.

4Final payments by British Film Fund Agency

(1)Where the British Film Fund Agency receive any amount from the Secretary of State in accordance with section 3(3), that amount shall be added to the moneys available for distribution by the Agency under the distribution regulations in respect of the final distribution period.

(2)With the consent of the Secretary of State payments under the distribution regulations in respect of the final distribution period may be made by the Agency after the date by which they would otherwise have been required to be made by virtue of the regulations.

(3)Where

(a)any claim made under the distribution regulations or any corresponding earlier regulations has been accepted by the Agency and they have allocated an amount for the payment of that claim ; but (b) owing to any lack of information relating to the claimant, or owing to any other circumstances outside their control, they have been unable to secure the payment to the claimant of that amount,

they shall take such steps as they consider appropriate for the purpose of facilitating the securing of that result.

(4)Where the Agency take such steps as are mentioned in subsection (3) with respect to any claim but are nevertheless unable to secure the payment to the claimant of the amount in question before the relevant date, the Agency shall on that date discount the claim for the purposes of the distribution regulations, and the amount in question shall—

(a)in the case of a claim in respect of a period other than the final distribution period, be added to the moneys available for distribution by the Agency under the distribution regulations in respect of the final distribution period;

(b)in the case of a claim in respect of the final distribution period, be paid to the Secretary of State to be dealt with by him as if it were an amount received by him as mentioned in section 3 (2) (b).

(5)In subsection (4) " the relevant date ", in relation to a claim falling within paragraph (a) or (b) of that subsection, means such date as may be fixed by the Secretary of State for the purposes of that paragraph ; and that date may—

(a)in the case of paragraph (a), be earlier than the date by which payments in respect of the period immediately preceding the final distribution period are required to be made by virtue of the distribution regulations;

(b)in the case of paragraph (b), be earlier than the date by which payments in repect of the final distribution period are so required to be made.

(6)In this section " the distribution regulations " and " the final distribution period " have the meaning given by section 2(1) (but subject to section 2(4) (b)).

5Financial assistance by Secretary of State in connection with the production of films

(1)The Secretary of State with the consent of the Treasury may, at any time after the National Film Finance Corporation have been dissolved by any such order as is mentioned in section 3(2), give financial assistance—

(a)to any British company or partnership, being a company or partnership in whose case he is satisfied as to the matters mentioned in paragraphs (a) and (b) of section 3(4), for any purpose connected with the production of relevant films;

(b)to any person—

(i)for the purpose of enabling projects to be prepared, or other preliminary work to be undertaken or steps taken, with a view to the production of relevant films; or

(ii)for any purpose connected with the production of short films. In this subsection " British company ", " British partnership " and " relevant film " have the meaning given by section 3(7), and " short film " means a relevant film with a total playing time of less than 35 minutes.

(2)Assistance under subsection (1) may be given by way of a grant or loan or in the form of a guarantee or otherwise; and in giving assistance under that subsection the Secretary of State may impose such conditions as he thinks fit, including conditions requiring a grant to be repaid in specified circumstances.

(3)The Secretary of State may appoint a person to make recommendations and provide other services in connection with the discharge by the Secretary of State of his functions under subsection (1)(b).

(4)Any sums required by the Secretary of State for making payments under subsection (1), or for meeting any expenses of any person appointed under subsection (3), shall be paid out of money provided by Parliament; and any sums received by the Secretary of State by virtue of this section shall be paid into the Consolidated Fund.

6Certification of master negatives, tapes and discs for purposes of section 72 of Finance Act 1982

(1)Schedule 1 to this Act shall have effect with respect to the certification by the Secretary of State of a master negative, tape or disc of a film as a qualifying film, tape or disc for the purposes of section 72 of the Finance Act 1982 (expenditure on production and acquisition of films etc.).

(2)Accordingly, in that section—

(a)in subsection (7) (cases where expenditure in relation to films is still to be regarded as capital expenditure), for " for the purposes of this section as a qualifying film, tape or disc " there shall be substituted

under Schedule 1 to the Films Act 1985 as a qualifying film, tape or disc for the purposes of this section; and

(b)subsection (8) (certification by reference to eligibility of film in question for purposes of payments under section 6 of the Film Levy Finance Act 1981) shall cease to have effect.

7Repeals, etc.

(1)The enactments mentioned in Schedule 2 to this Act are repealed to the extent specified in the third column of that Schedule.

(2)Section 13 of the Copyright Act 1956 (copyright in cinematograph films) shall be amended as follows—

(a)in subsection (3)—

(i)for paragraph (a) there shall be substituted—

(a)in the case of any film which was registered under a former enactment relating to the registration of films, shall continue until the end of the period of fifty years from the end of the calendar year in which it was so registered ;;

(ii)in paragraph (b), for "a film which is not so registrable" there shall be substituted

any other film;

(iii)at the end of the subsection there shall be inserted— In this subsection " former enactment relating to the registration of films " means Part II of the Films Act 1960 or Part III of the Cinematograph Films Act 1938.

(iv)the proviso shall be omitted ;

(b)in subsection (8), for the words from " any such film " to " newsreels)", there shall be substituted

any film consisting wholly or mainly of photographs which, at the time when they were taken, were means of communicating news,; and

(c)subsection (11) shall be omitted.

(3)Notwithstanding the repeal by this Act of the Films Act 1960 the register kept under Part II of that Act shall continue to be kept by the Secretary of State in connection with the determination, for the purposes of any statutory provision, of questions relating to the registration of films under Part II of the Films Act 1960 or Part III of the Cinematograph Films Act 1938.

(4)Where any film would, but for the repeal by this Act of the Films Act 1960 and the Films Act 1970, bete) a British film for the purposes of the Film Levy Finance Act 1981 by virtue of section 9(2) of that Act (interpretation) ; or (b) an eligible film for the purposes of regulations made under section 6 of that Act,

that film shall be a British film, or (as the case may be) an eligible film, for those purposes notwithstanding the repeal of the said Acts of 1960 and 1970.

(5)In subsection (7) (b) of section 72 of the Finance Act 1982, as amended by section 6 of this Act, the reference to a film, tape or disc which is certified by the Secretary of State under Schedule 1 to this Act as a qualifying film, tape or disc for the purposes of section 72 shall include a reference to a film, tape or disc which was certified by the Secretary of State as aforesaid in pursuance of subsection (7) (b) as originally enacted.

(6)Where

(a)a contract for the production or acquisition of a master negative, master tape or master disc of a film has been entered into before the commencement of section 6 of this Act; and

(b)any person, having incurred expenditure in pursuance of the contract (before or after that commencement) on the production or acquisition of the negative, tape or disc, makes an application under paragraph 2 of Schedule 1 to this Act with respect to it,

that person may by notice in writing require that the question whether the negative, tape or disc ought to be certified as a qualifying film, tape or disc for the purposes of section 72 of the Finance Act 1982 shall be determined by the Secretary of State in accordance with the law in force immediately before the commencement of section 6 in like manner as if his application had been a request for certification made under section 72(8). Any expression used in this subsection has the same meaning as it has in paragraph 2(1) of Schedule 1 to this Act.

(7)The Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument provide for such further transitional and saving provisions to have effect in connection with the coming into operation of any provision of this Act as appear to him to be necessary or expedient.

8Short title, commencement and extent

(1)This Act may be cited as the Films Act 1985.

(2)The following provisions of this Act shall come into force at the end of the period of two months beginning with the day on which it is passed, namely—

(a)section 6 and Schedule 1 ;

(b)section 7(1) and Schedule 2 so far as relating to the Finance Act 1982 and the Finance Act 1984 ;

(c)section 7(5) and (6).

(3)The following provisions of this Act extend to Northern Ireland, namely—

(a)section 3(8);

(b)section 6 and Schedule 1;

(c)section 7 and Schedule 2 ;

(d)this section.

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