Germany pushes through new film law

TV channels to pay levy to help subsidize local productions

BERLIN -- Germany's parliament has voted unanimously to pass an amendment to the German film financing law, which will require television channels to pay a levy to help subsidize German productions.

Germany's Film Board hopes the amendment will squash a legal challenge to Germany's subsidy system filed by some of the country's biggest exhibitors.

The exhibitors say the system is unfair since, under the old rules, cinema owners were legally required to pay the levy but it was optional for broadcasters. The court challenge has been a blow to the Film Board, since it can not use the cash the exhibitors would be paying until the courts give their final ruling.

What is still unclear is whether a grandfather clause in the amendment will be approved by the appeal courts. Exhibitors are certain to continue fighting the law.