Where I am (which I won't specify), there are a couple of free-to-air movie channels. However, almost every movie I watch has the boring bit of the credits cut off. That is, if there are bloopers with the credits (like in Rush Hour), or the first couple of credits are done in a creative/interesting way (like in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, with the burnt paper), they do show those credits. But they cut it off when it comes to the black background and white text credits roll, either by editing it to skip to the end, or just abruptly ending it.

I can understand that most people ignore credits anyway, and they're cutting it off to save time (although personally I sometimes like listening to the credits music). However, I wanted to know, is it legal? From my point of view, everybody who worked on the film has a right to have their name shown at the end, and whether they're acknowledged by the viewer or not should be the viewer's choice.

Also, now that I think about it, the cinema a go to occasionally also cuts off the credits in the same way. This surely isn't legal, right?

  • My personal opinion is that the credits and their presentation are part of the copyrighted material, and any change made to their display violates that copyright. But, I am not a lawyer, and I see things in a US-centric view, this rule may vary according to locale.
    – wbogacz
    Commented Apr 5, 2013 at 12:42
  • In the same sense cutting it for the sake of censorship or time schedule fitting, when the original (say the cinema version) isn't censored or cut could also be considered a violation of copyright law. But then again it (the credit removal, but ok, the cutting also) is done so heavily by major TV channels (at least where I live) that I cannot think they're always violating law with every single movie they air. Could indeed be a local problem. But I agree that cutting the credits in the cinema is a bit more dubious.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Apr 5, 2013 at 13:34
  • 2
    Where I am (which I won't specify) without knowing what jurisdiction you're in, this is unanswerable, as this will vary by locale.
    – user209
    Commented Apr 5, 2013 at 14:15
  • 1
    I also thought to post the same question yesterday but due to time shortage failed to do that. Anyways +1 for the question
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Apr 5, 2013 at 14:31
  • @Keen: Well OK then, I guess that makes sense. I'm in Egypt, although the channels I'm talking about are probably from UAE and/or Qatar, since the time zones specified are GMT and KSA. The cinema I was talking about is just here in Egypt, though.
    – puggsoy
    Commented Apr 5, 2013 at 15:23

2 Answers 2


Generally speaking it is not legal to cut any part of a film for broadcasting, but it is done when a legal contract states it's allowed. Most broadcast companies seek permission to do the following.

  • Edit the film to adjust the viewing aspect ratio (example; "This film has been formatted to fit your television screen").
  • They can bleep or cut out scenes that don't meet the networks viewer rating (example; remove scenes from a horror film to make it PG rated).
  • They can speed up the end credits.
  • They can show credits in a picture-in-picture format.

When you see a film shown on television without the end credits. Often you can find that information on the network's website or in the printed television guide.

  • How about cinemas though? Would it be possible or likely for a contract to allow cutting the credits when showing a film at a cinema?
    – puggsoy
    Commented Apr 6, 2013 at 12:39
  • @puggsoy movie trailers, short stories shown before the film, advertisements often don't have credits, but I've never seen a feature film with it's credits cut in a theater, but it wouldn't surprise me if a theater shorten the credits for a "double feature". When Back To The Future 3 came out there were theaters here showing all 3 films back to back. I didn't see it like that, but it wouldn't surprise me if they shorten the credits for films 1 and 2.
    – Reactgular
    Commented Apr 6, 2013 at 15:00
  • It wasn't like that though. I recently saw Oz the Great and Powerful, and that just had the credits cut (although it's happened with all movies I've seen here). It may not be illegal here, but that would be really surprising (and, in my opinion, unethical).
    – puggsoy
    Commented Apr 6, 2013 at 16:20

Any movie (or TV show) broadcast on TV (or in a cinema for that matter) will be subject to whatever provisions the copyright holder decided in the contract.

Many movies are censored or edited when shown on TV so clearly it isn't illegal in general to cut credits. The studios most likely have a standard contract that allows for some basic cuts. Technically they could decide any conditions they felt like, but they would be much less likely to get any "buyers" for the broadcast.

  • There could be contracts with others involved too, such as the Screen Actor's Guild.
    – Dronz
    Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 21:43

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