CHAPTER 531
MOVING PICTURES

Table of Contents

Sec. 29-109. Certificates of approval. Regulations. Variations or exemptions.
Sec. 29-110. When films may be shown without fire-proof booths.
Sec. 29-111. Revocation or suspension of licenses or permits.
Sec. 29-112. Fees.
Sec. 29-113. Penalty.
Sec. 29-114. Exhibition of moving pictures at religious services held on Sunday.
Sec. 29-115. Authority to operate.
Sec. 29-116. Inspection by state police.
Sec. 29-117. Moving picture licenses. Fees. Penalty.
Sec. 29-117a.
Secs. 29-118 and 29-119. License to operate; fee. Penalties.
Sec. 29-120. Exceptions.
Secs. 29-121 to 29-126. Storing of moving picture films; definitions. License to manufacture or store films. Restriction on issuance of licenses. Special room for handling films; fire extinguishers; smoking forbidden. Quantity of films under examination or repair restricted. Room to be ventilated.
Sec. 29-127. Inspections.
Sec. 29-128. Penalty.
Sec. 29-128a. (Formerly Sec. 29-117a). Exhibition of previews of "X" rated films.
Sec. 29-128b. Display of film rating required.
Secs. 29-128c to 29-128e.
Sec. 29-128f. Unlawful use of recording device in motion picture theater.

      Sec. 29-109. Certificates of approval. Regulations. Variations or exemptions. (a) No moving picture projector involving the use of a photographic film shall be operated in any public building or place of public assemblage or entertainment until such precautions as the Commissioner of Public Safety specifies have been taken against fire, panic or other personal hazards and a certificate of approval for such premises has been obtained from the commissioner specifying the number of persons that may be admitted to such premises or place at any one time. No moving picture film shall be used or exhibited in any premises or place mentioned herein unless such film, together with the projector and necessary accessories, is located in a room or area of such size, type and design as the commissioner specifies, and a certificate of approval has been obtained from the commissioner authorizing such use of such room or area. No person may store or use any moving picture film made of nitrocellulose or any other highly combustible material in a motion picture theater.

      (b) The Commissioner of Public Safety shall adopt regulations in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 to establish (1) requirements for the issuance of certificates of approval under the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, and (2) procedures for the operation of motion picture and projection rooms or areas, and to otherwise implement the provisions of subsection (a) of this section.

      (c) The State Fire Marshal may grant variations or exemptions from, or approve equivalent or alternate compliance with, particular provisions of subsection (a) of this section or any regulation adopted under the provisions of subsection (b) of this section where strict compliance with such provisions would entail practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship, or is otherwise adjudged unwarranted, provided any such variation, exemption or approved equivalent or alternate compliance shall, in the opinion of the State Fire Marshal, secure the public safety.

      (1949 Rev., S. 3694; P.A. 77-614, S. 486, 610; P.A. 89-188, S. 1, 9; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 98-1, S. 56, 121.)

      History: P.A. 77-614 replaced commissioner of state police with commissioner of public safety, effective January 1, 1979; P.A. 89-188 divided the section into Subsecs., deleting references to "fire-proof booth" and inserting "area" in its place, prohibiting the storage or use of nitrocellulose film in a motion picture theater, requiring public safety commissioner to adopt regulations to implement provisions of Subsec. (a) and permitting state fire marshal to grant variations or exemptions from Subsec. (a) or the regulations; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 98-1 made a technical change in Subsec. (a), effective June 24, 1998.

      See Sec. 53-199 re regulation of seating capacity and standing room in theaters and movie houses.

      Section held not to invalidate prior New Britain ordinance requiring member of police force to be present at each theater performance. 147 C. 546.

      Cited. 15 CA 130.

      Authority to operate under Sec. 29-115 is inoperative unless there is compliance with this section and this chapter. 19 CS 122.


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      Sec. 29-110. When films may be shown without fire-proof booths. Section 29-110 is repealed.

      (1949 Rev., S. 3695; P.A. 89-188, S. 8, 9.)

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      Sec. 29-111. Revocation or suspension of licenses or permits. All licenses, permits or approvals issued by the commissioner under the administration of the provisions of the statutes relating to moving pictures may be revoked or suspended for cause in the discretion of the commissioner except that, when any person or persons use or exhibit, or cause to be used or exhibited, any nitrocellulose moving picture film in violation of the provisions of section 29-109, there shall be a suspension for at least one year of all licenses, permits and approvals issued by the commissioner to such person or persons in connection with the exhibition of moving pictures or the dealing in moving picture films.

      (1949 Rev., S. 3696; P.A. 89-188, S. 2, 9.)

      History: P.A. 89-188 deleted obsolete reference to disposal of film in violation of the provisions of Sec. 29-109.

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      Sec. 29-112. Fees. The following fees shall be collected by the commissioner and by him paid to the State Treasurer: For inspection and annual approval of any premises or place where moving picture films are used or exhibited, fifty dollars; for inspection and approval of any projection room or area as defined in regulations adopted under section 29-109, twenty-five dollars; for inspection of any other building or plan of building, incident to the administration of section 29-109, twenty-five dollars. Permits and approvals issued under the provisions of said sections may be for definite dates only, but, unless otherwise specified, shall cover the premises described from date of issue until the first day of February next following.

      (1949 Rev., S. 3697; 1961, P.A. 29; P.A. 80-297, S. 14, 20; P.A. 89-188, S. 3, 9; May Sp. Sess. P.A. 92-6, S. 57, 117; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 07-1, S. 140.)

      History: 1961 act changed termination date of permits and approvals from September 1 to February 1; P.A. 80-297 raised fee for inspection of premises from $10 to $25 and raised all other inspection fees from $5 to $10; P.A. 89-188 deleted obsolete references to Sec. 29-110 and to "fire-proof booth", replacing the latter with "area"; May Sp. Sess. P.A. 92-6 raised fee for inspection of premises from $25 to $35; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 07-1 increased fees from $35 to $50 and from $10 to $25, effective July 1, 2007.

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      Sec. 29-113. Penalty. Any person who violates any provision of section 29-109 shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars.

      (1949 Rev., S. 3698; P.A. 89-188, S. 4, 9.)

      History: P.A. 89-188 deleted obsolete reference to Sec. 29-110.

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      Sec. 29-114. Exhibition of moving pictures at religious services held on Sunday. Section 29-114 is repealed.

      (1949 Rev., S. 3699; P.A. 76-415, S. 9; 76-435, S. 81, 82.)

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      Sec. 29-115. Authority to operate. If an application is made to the commissioner for a certificate of approval of any enclosure or building in which it is proposed to operate a moving picture machine, any person owning real estate so situated that it is liable to injury by the operation of such machine or the location of the building in which such machine is proposed to be operated may file with the commissioner any objection which such owner has to the granting of such certificate. Such objection shall be in writing and in duplicate and shall state in general terms the reasons therefor. The commissioner, upon receipt of such objection, shall notify the applicant for such certificate by mailing to him a copy of the objection so made and, upon written request of such applicant, the commissioner shall designate a time and place for a hearing. At such hearing the commissioner shall preside and hear any objection to the granting of such certificate which may be offered and shall decide as to the suitability of the person or place set forth in such application, and if, in his opinion, such person or place is unsuitable, he shall refuse to grant such certificate. The applicant for such certificate, or any person objecting to the granting of the same, claiming to be aggrieved by the decision of the commissioner, may appeal therefrom in accordance with the provisions of section 4-183, except venue for such appeal shall be in the judicial district in which it is proposed to operate such machine.

      (1949 Rev., S. 3700; 1971, P.A. 870, S. 84; P.A. 74-183, S. 264, 291; P.A. 76-436, S. 227, 681; P.A. 77-603, S. 112, 125; P.A. 78-280, S. 1, 127.)

      History: 1971 act replaced superior court with court of common pleas, effective September 1, 1971, except that courts with cases pending retain jurisdiction unless pending matters deemed transferable; P.A. 74-183 added reference to judicial districts; P.A. 76-436 replaced court of common pleas with superior court, effective July 1, 1978; P.A. 77-603 replaced previous detailed appeal provisions with requirement that appeals be made in accordance with Sec. 4-183 but retained venue in county or judicial district where it is proposed to operate a machine; P.A. 78-280 deleted reference to counties.

      Cited. 8 CS 357. Cited. 18 CS 520. Test for granting of certificate is suitability of the applicant and suitability of the place. 19 CS 121.

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      Sec. 29-116. Inspection by state police. Section 29-116 is repealed.

      (1949 Rev., S. 3701; P.A. 77-614, S. 486, 587, 610; P.A. 78-303, S. 85, 136; P.A. 89-188, S. 8, 9.)

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      Sec. 29-117. Moving picture licenses. Fees. Penalty. No person shall exhibit, show or use any moving picture film, reel or view in any place to which an admission fee is charged, except in a church, parish house, school or other building of a religious, ecclesiastical or educational organization in furtherance of its purposes, without a license for such purpose issued by the Commissioner of Public Safety. The commissioner, after investigation, shall issue the license required herein to any person found by him to be a suitable person, provided he shall have received a written application therefor, which application shall describe the location of the place and shall give its seating capacity and such other information as the commissioner requires. Such license shall be effective until September first next following its issuance, unless suspended or revoked for cause, and the applicant shall pay for the same and for each renewal thereof the sum of fifty dollars. When any person so licensed exhibits, shows or uses or permits to be exhibited, shown or used in any place described in such license any moving picture film, title, subtitle or part thereof, reel or view of an immoral, degrading or criminal character, or which is unlawful under the provisions of section 53a-194 or 53a-196, the commissioner may, upon complaint or upon his own motion, suspend or revoke the license of such person. No license shall be granted to any person to whom two of the licenses issued have been either suspended or revoked. Any person, or the officer of any corporation, violating any provision of this section shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than one year or both.

      (1949 Rev., S. 3702; 1971, P.A. 871, S. 109; P.A. 77-614, S. 486, 610; P.A. 80-297, S. 15, 20; May Sp. Sess. P.A. 92-6, S. 58, 117; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 07-1, S. 141.)

      History: 1971 act substituted reference to Secs. 53a-194 and 53a-196 for reference to Sec. 53-245; P.A. 77-614 replaced commissioner of state police with commissioner of public safety, effective January 1, 1979; P.A. 80-297 increased license fee from $10 to $25; May Sp. Sess. P.A. 92-6 raised license fee to $35; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 07-1 increased fee for licensure from $35 to $50, effective July 1, 2007.

      Statutory requirement that a license is good for only one year enables the administrative officer to review his own decisions. 8 CS 360.

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      Sec. 29-117a. Transferred to Sec. 29-128a.

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      Secs. 29-118 and 29-119. License to operate; fee. Penalties. Sections 29-118 and 29-119 are repealed, effective October 1, 1999.

      (1949 Rev., S. 3703, 3704; 1971, P.A. 423, S. 1; P.A. 77-614, S. 486, 610; P.A. 80-297, S. 16, 20; P.A. 89-188, S. 5, 6, 9; P.A. 99-163, S. 8, 9.)

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      Sec. 29-120. Exceptions. The provisions of sections 29-109 to 29-117, inclusive, shall not apply to schools, churches, Sunday schools, granges, clubs or lodge rooms in which films made from a cellulose acetate base are projected with approved projectors of the enclosed type equipped with incandescent lamps for projection illumination, provided such places at such times shall not be used as theaters or places of public amusement to which an admission fee is usually charged.

      (1949 Rev., S. 3705; P.A. 89-188, S. 7, 9; P.A. 99-163, S. 7.)

      History: P.A. 89-188 deleted the entire exemption and inserted an exemption for schools, churches, Sunday schools, granges, clubs or lodge rooms in which cellulose acetate films are projected with approved projectors of the enclosed type; P.A. 99-163 removed a reference to Sec. 29-119, since both that section and Sec. 29-118 were repealed by that act.

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      Secs. 29-121 to 29-126. Storing of moving picture films; definitions. License to manufacture or store films. Restriction on issuance of licenses. Special room for handling films; fire extinguishers; smoking forbidden. Quantity of films under examination or repair restricted. Room to be ventilated. Sections 29-121 to 29-126, inclusive, are repealed.

      (1949 Rev., S. 3706-3711; P.A. 89-188, S. 8, 9.)

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      Sec. 29-127. Inspections. Inspections shall be made by the Commissioner of Public Safety or any employee of the Department of Public Safety deputized by him for the purpose of enforcing the provisions of the statutes relating to moving pictures. He shall report any violation thereof to the prosecuting attorney having jurisdiction in the town in which such violation occurred.

      (1949 Rev., S. 3712; 1961, P.A. 517, S. 67; P.A. 77-614, S. 486, 610; P.A. 92-130, S. 5, 10.)

      History: 1961 act corrected reference to prosecuting attorney as required by abolition of municipal courts; P.A. 77-614 replaced commissioner of state police with commissioner of public safety and made state police department a division within the department of public safety, effective January 1, 1979; P.A. 92-130 permitted inspections to be made by deputized employee in lieu of member of the division of state police.

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      Sec. 29-128. Penalty. Section 29-128 is repealed.

      (1949 Rev., S. 3713; P.A. 89-188, S. 8, 9.)

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      Sec. 29-128a. (Formerly Sec. 29-117a). Exhibition of previews of "X" rated films. No person shall exhibit, show or use any preview film, reel or view of any film rated "X" on any movie screen except at a showing of a film similarly rated. Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be fined not more than two hundred fifty dollars or imprisoned not more than six months or both.

      (1971, P.A. 733.)

      History: Sec. 29-117a transferred to Sec. 29-128a in 1981.

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      Sec. 29-128b. Display of film rating required. No person holding a license under the provisions of this chapter shall exhibit, show or use any moving picture film in a place to which an admission fee is charged without prominently displaying the "G", "PG", "R" or "X" rating of such film. If such place has a marquee on which film names or titles are displayed, such person shall display the film rating on such marquee. If such place does not have a marquee, such person shall display the rating of each film being exhibited on a sign or poster located on the exterior of such place. Such sign or poster shall be of a size reasonably calculated to attract the attention of persons entering such place.

      (P.A. 79-296; P.A. 80-483, S. 89, 186.)

      History: P.A. 80-483 deleted "P" rating.

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      Secs. 29-128c to 29-128e. Reserved for future use.

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      Sec. 29-128f. Unlawful use of recording device in motion picture theater. (a) As used in this section: (1) "Audiovisual recording function" means the capability of a device to record or transmit a motion picture by means of any technology, and (2) "motion picture theater" means a movie theater or screening room that, at the time of the offense, is being used for the exhibition of a motion picture.

      (b) Any person who knowingly operates an audiovisual recording function of a device in a motion picture theater while a motion picture is being exhibited without the consent of the owner or lessee of such theater and with the intent to record such motion picture shall be guilty of a class B misdemeanor.

      (c) Whenever the owner or lessee of a motion picture theater where a motion picture is being exhibited, or an employee or authorized agent of such owner or lessee, has reasonable grounds to believe that a person is operating or attempting to operate an audiovisual recording function of a device in such theater in violation of subsection (b) of this section, such owner, lessee, employee or agent may question such person as to such person's name and address and may detain such person for a time sufficient to summon a police officer to the premises. No other information shall be required of such person until a police officer has taken such person into custody. For the purposes of this subsection, "reasonable grounds" means knowledge that a person has operated or attempted to operate an audiovisual recording function of a device in such theater.

      (d) In any civil action by a person detained under the provisions of subsection (c) of this section against the person so detaining him or her, or the principal or employer of such person, arising out of such questioning or detention by any such owner, lessee, employee or agent, evidence that the defendant had reasonable grounds to believe that the plaintiff was, at the time in question, operating or attempting to operate an audiovisual recording function of a device in a motion picture theater while a motion picture was being exhibited without the consent of the owner or lessee of such facility shall create a rebuttable presumption that the plaintiff was so operating or attempting to operate such audiovisual recording function.

      (e) The provisions of this section shall not apply to the operation of an audiovisual recording function of a device by any authorized employee or agent of a local, state or federal law enforcement agency while such employee or agent is engaged in authorized investigative, protective, law enforcement or intelligence gathering activities.

      (f) Nothing in this section shall preclude prosecution of a person under any other provision of the general statutes.

      (P.A. 04-187, S. 1.)

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