Film distributors will face new administrative hurdles in Argentina

by Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP

Unexpectedly, the government of Argentina has decided to enforce law 23,316, enacted on May 23, 1986, regarding certain requirements for dubbing motion pictures and television programming (the “Dubbing Act”), which was only in the books and never implemented… until today. President Kirchner issued decree 933/2013, which after 27 years explains and expands the Dubbing Act (the “Decree”). Both regulations are full of confusing and contradictory clauses which will cause more than a headache to the film & TV industry and will be an invitation for litigation.

The Dubbing Act states that all dubbing must be in a neutral dialect and accent of the Spanish language. The plain language of the Dubbing Act only requires such neutral dubbing if, and only if, they decide to broadcast in Spanish, and there is no clause requesting television networks (regardless of the means of transmission, e.g. satellite, broadcast, cable) to dub into Spanish language every programming originally produced in a different language.

Nevertheless, the Whereas of the Decree purports that the exhibition of motion pictures and television programming must be dubbed into the Spanish language in a neutral fashion for television. However, section 9(c) of the Telecommunications Act 26,522 (the “Telecommunications Act”), provides a carve out to this obligation for “programs that are exhibited in another language and are simultaneously translated or subtitled.”

Moreover, section 1 of the Decree states that programming exhibited on television broadcast services described under the Telecommunications Act must be in the official language (i.e. Spanish) or the languages of the Natives, with the exceptions provided under section 9 of such Act. Under the Telecommunications Act, television broadcast (radiodifusión televisiva) means “primarily all one-way forms of communication used to transmit audiovisual frequencies, with or without sound, for the simultaneous viewing based on a scheduled programming grid, to be received by the general public by means of electromagnetic Hertzian waves.” Thus, in addition to the exception set forth under section 9(c) of the Telecommunications Act explained above, the definition of “television broadcast” will only include the so-called free over-the-air television, excluding cable-TV, satellite-TV and the Internet, amongst others.

Consequently, even though the Whereas of the Decree and statements by members of Ms. Kirchner’s cabinet deem to oblige all television programming and motion pictures to be dubbed into the Spanish language, this should not be the case.

Separately, if a distributor has to dub a motion picture or television programming, such distributor will face the following administrative hurdles:

  • For television programming and motion pictures with 4 or more speakers, at least 50% of the material must be dubbed by talent with a degree from state or public educational institution recognized by the Argentinean authorities (if they are less than 4 speakers, then 25% the material must be dubbed in accordance with the provisions set forth under this paragraph);
  • This requirement applies to all television networks, whether it is over-the-air, cable, satellite, or any in any manner now known or hereafter devise;
  • All distributors importing motion pictures or television programming must register with the Register of Importers of Programs for Television (Empresas Importadoras Distribuidoras de Programas Envasados para Televisión y de Estudios y Laboratorios de Doblaje) which is under the scope of Argentina’s Film Commission (Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales) (“Film Commission”). Distributors will not be able to import unless they have the relevant certificate issued by the Film Commission;
  • If a distributor already has a certificate, it will have to file a new application for a renewal, so that the Film Commission can provide them with a new registration number;
  • Failing to have a certificate will not only complicate customs and duties procedures, but also prohibit all networks from exhibiting the applicable motion picture or television programming;
  • The Argentinean FCC (Autoridad Federal de Servicios de Comunicación Audiovisual –AFSCA) and the Film Commission are empowered to supervise and impose sanctions. All proceeds will go to a fund that subsidies local productions (Fondo de Fomento Cinematográfico).

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP

Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.