862.4061 Motion Pictures/15

The Ambassador in Germany (Schurman) to the Secretary of State

No. 4198

Sir: In confirmation of my telegram No. 260 of December 21, 1928, relative to the new German regulations governing the importation [Page 920] of foreign films, I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy of the aforesaid regulations and a translation prepared by the Commercial Attaché.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I have [etc.]

Jacob Gould Schurman

Decree by the German Commission for Import and Export Permits Concerning the Importation of Exposed Motion Picture Films

II A/9 No. 17624/28

Until further notice, the following regulations govern the import of exposed motion picture films:


In each contingent year, that is, the period from July 1 to June 30 of the following year, only a certain number of permits for censorship of foreign feature films will be issued. The allocation of these permits, the number of which is to be set each year, takes place as follows: a certain portion of them, to be determined from year to year, will be allotted to German renters who have actually maintained an independent rental organization during the contingent year in question; the rest remain at the disposal of the Federal Commissioner.

The allocation of permits among renters entitled thereto will be made in proportion to the number of German feature films, censored during the two preceding calendar years and entitled to compensation, of which they were the original distributors. By German films are meant films for which at least the studio photography was done in Germany. By films entitled to compensation are meant films whose length is not less than 1,500 meters and in the production of which at least 14 studio days were required. Furthermore, these films must have been publicly exhibited in the usual manner by the applying firm. The decision in doubtful cases will be made by the Federal Commissioner. Firms which were not original renters of any films entitled to compensation, or of only one such film, in the preceding year will not be taken into account.

The actual issuance of the permits will take place only after the allocation of the permits has been completed on the basis of the data presented by German renters, but in no case before August 1, 1929 [of each year]. No advance issue will be made.

The rights to permits and the permits themselves are non-transferable. The films censored on the basis of these permits may be released [Page 921] only by the applying firm. In the case of district renters, the allocation of district permits will be made in accordance with the same principle as for renters covering all of Germany. District permits may be used by the holder only [in respect of foreign films]. District permits can be consolidated.58 For every five district permits, a release permit may be claimed for all of Germany. Foreign feature films censored on the basis thereof must be released through district renters. District renters who were not the original distributor of any German film entitled to compensation in the previous year, or of only one such film, will not be taken into account.


For foreign comedies and cartoons not exceeding 500 meters in length and for newsreels and industrial films, permits may be granted without compensation.


Permits for the censorship of foreign educational and cultural films will be issued only when the renters applying therefor show by contracts or otherwise that for every foreign educational and cultural film for which a permit is requested they themselves have distributed two new and unreleased German educational and cultural films of about the same length, censored within the contingent year.


Regulations governing the number of permits to be issued and details incidental thereto will be drawn up from year to year in consultation with the film industry.


On the basis of the foregoing, the Federal Commissioner fixes the number of permits to be issued during the contingent year 1929/30 i. e., the period from July 1, 1929 to June 30, 1930, at 210.

Of this number, 160 permits will be issued to qualified renters.

The remaining 50 permits are placed at the disposal of the Federal Commissioner and will be issued to German firms giving evidence that they have sold German films abroad and that these films have received adequate public exhibition there.

The basis upon which these permits are to be distributed will be determined later in consultation with the film industry.

Federal Commissioner for Import and Export Permits
Liquidation office
by Dr. Landwehr

[Page 922]

In accordance with the foregoing regulations, the Federal Commissioner calls upon all renters who lay claim to permits for the contingent year 1929/30 to submit applications not later than January 31, 1929, to the Aussenhandelsausschuss Filme, Dr. Kuhnert, Berlin, SW 48, Friedrichstrasse 250, listing the films entitled to compensation that they have distributed.

Dr. Landwehr
  1. As prepared by the Commercial Attaché. Bracketed corrections inserted after comparison with the German text.
  2. In the German text this sentence appears as a footnote to the preceding sentence.