View Full Version : Starz to Disney: Stop selling online

03-22-2007, 06:38 PM
Starz to Disney: Stop selling online
March 22, 2007: 06:51 PM EST

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Starz Entertainment LLC, a unit of John Malone's Liberty Media Capital, wants to block The Walt Disney Co. from selling movies over the Internet while those films are airing on Starz cable and Web services.

Starz filed a lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court alleging that the sale of movies such as 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl' through Apple Inc.'s iTunes store and elsewhere violates a promise to license those films to Starz exclusively for a set period.

Starz contends it has paid Disney 'over $1 billion' for exclusive rights to show Disney films during blocks of time after the movies leave theaters. The lawsuit claims the contract prevents Disney from selling films on the Internet prior to the time they appear on Starz services, such as the Starz and Encore video-on-demand movie channels or its online service, Vongo.

The lawsuit was filed after months of talks failed to produce a solution, Starz said.

'We've had conversations with them. We met with them last week. They just refuse to discuss it,' said Robert B. Clasen, Starz entertainment chairman and chief executive. 'We believe we need to protect the copyright license we paid them for.' Clasen said Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei spoke with Disney CEO Robert Iger within the past day to tell him that a lawsuit was being filed.

'We gave them several offers to settle and they have rejected those offers,' Clasen said. 'Let a judge decide.'

'We believe Starz misreads its agreement with Buena Vista Television and that its claim is without merit,' Disney spokeswoman Kim Harbin said in a statement. Buena Vista Television is the Disney unit being sued by Starz. 'BVT retained and has the right to sell its motion pictures in a wide range of mediums.'

The lawsuit claims Disney is bound by two licensing agreements, one signed in 1993 and the other in 1999. In recent years, Starz negotiated exceptions for Disney to be able to rent films over Internet services such as Movielink and CinemaNow, the lawsuit claims.

The company claims that selling permanent copies of the films online at the same time they are available on various Starz services undercuts the value of its license with Disney. Starz is seeking the profits, estimated in the millions of dollars.

03-22-2007, 06:49 PM
starz might as well go p*** up a rope, im sure disney "CYA" before signing on the dotted line. :banana: