Advanced Television

Starz v MGM exclusivity dispute heats up

May 5, 2020

By Chris Forrester

Pay-TV network Starz is suing MGM alleging that the studio has licensed “hundreds” of movies in breach of its exclusivity agreement with Starz.

The complaint was filed May 4th in a California Federal Court. The writ alleges that the Starz deal with MGM covers recent James Bond movies as well as classics such as Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Rain Man, Mad Max, The Terminator and Thelma & Louise.

Starz argues that its agreement with MGM gives the broadcaster exclusive rights over those movies.

The Hollywood Reporter says that the writ alleges that by at least 2015 and potentially earlier MGM began granting licences to other broadcasters during the same time period where Starz had exclusive rights.

Reportedly discussions between MGM and Starz started last August when Starz realised that some titles were streaming on Amazon.

Starz is suing for lost profits, diminished reputation, loss of goodwill, direct and contributory copyright infringement, and breaches of contract, good faith and fair dealing.

MGM, in its response, says: “The lawsuit is a transparent effort by Starz to use litigation to deflect attention away from its own competitive shortcomings. Starz is pretending that a routine licensing dispute with MGM, that had no meaningful financial impact, is the cause of Starz’s failure to win in the marketplace. We will vigorously defend against these claims.”

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