Legal Guidelines for Using Fake Money in Films and Television

There are quite a few television shows and movies that need realistic-looking money for a variety of scenes. Since the money used for these film props isn’t real currency, it needs to be made by an experienced prop house. Between 1970 to 2000, for example, nearly 270 types, and 2,000 sub-types of custom prop money was produced.

Legal Guidelines for Using Fake Money

It’s important to note that the Secret Services was established in 1865 for the express purpose of tracking down money counterfeiters. This was due to roughly 33% of all U.S. currency being fake during that time. The Counterfeit Detection Act of 1992 specifies that when bills are reproduced for film props, they need to either be less than 75% or more than 150% the size of real currency. Or, these bills can be one-sided. As long as the fake currency adheres to size requirements, Title 18, United States Code, Section 504 allows it to be reproduced in black-and-white. Furthermore, when digital copies are made, they need to have a 72dpi or lower resolution.

If money needs to be burned in a film, then prop money has to be used. Otherwise, it’s a crime to burn or mutilate currency under 18 USC 333.

The Differences Between Real and Fake Currency

The Secret Service reports that there are distinctive differences between real and fake currency. U.S. currency paper is composed of 25% linen and 75% cotton. Furthermore, there are red and blue security fibers which are distributed and embedded randomly throughout the bills. Prop movie money, however, is printed on high-quality paper. Given this, it doesn’t have the feel of actual currency.

Learn More About Fake Money for Film Props

Since you’re a filmmaker or otherwise in charge of obtaining film props, you want to purchase fake money that looks real. Whether you have one or more scenes that require realistic-looking money, quality does make a difference. Once you determine how much fake money you’ll need, an experienced representative will be able to assist you. You may also be interested in having your fake currency custom-designed for your film’s needs.

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