“Starz Entertainment cable network said on Thursday it is suing a unit of Walt Disney Co. [Buena Vista Television (BVT)] for allowing other movie download services to sell titles while they were exclusively licensed to Starz,” Reuters reports.
MacDailyNews Note: The lawsuit notes that Disney has “begun to sell over the Internet via services like Apple Computer Corp.’s iTunes and (Wal- Mart Corp’s) Walmart.com the very same Disney films licensed to Starz.” The suit seeks to prevent BVT “from continuing to infringe on Starz’s rights” and asks for all profits BVT has realized from its infringing activities.
Reuters reports, “According to the lawsuit, Disney is barred under a 2005 licensing agreement with Starz from selling some of its films, such as the blockbuster ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,’ for transmission over the Internet before and during a period of exclusivity agreed upon for Starz.”
“Starz has paid over $1 billion for the exclusive rights to Disney films since 1993, according to the lawsuit. It also has the right to offer the films on its subscription Internet download service, Vongo,” Reuters reports.
Full article here.
In the press release, Starz Entertainment Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Robert B. Clasen said:
Disney has been a great partner. We hope to continue our relationship. But our agreements clearly prohibit them from selling their movies by electronic download over the Internet while they are exclusive to Starz. If Disney is permitted to violate our contract in this manner, it will undermine the integrity of copyright in general which is a cornerstone of our industry.
The film studios have been very aggressive, and quite rightly so, in protecting their copyrights, particularly with regard to the Internet. Starz must be equally aggressive in protecting the value of the deal it made. It is especially disappointing to see one of the largest studios ignore so blatantly its own contractual obligations to protect the copyrights it has licensed to Starz.
Full press release here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Adam W.” for the heads up.]
Starz intros ‘Vongo’ Windows-only, iPod-incompatible online movie download subscription service – January 03, 2006