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Starz Sues MGM Over Violation of Licensing Contracts | CBR

Starz is suing MGM for violating its exclusive licensing agreement with the premium cable network.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Starz filed a complaint alleging that it has a deal with MGM that gives it exclusive rights to air and stream the studio’s films — including James Bond, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Bull Durham, Rain Man, Thelma & Louise, Mad Max and The Terminator — and that MGM violated that agreement by allowing other networks and streaming services to air its movies. It also claims that MGM took action that materially impaired bargained-for rights, another violation of the contract between the two.

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“MGM breached both promises,” the complaint read. “Unbeknownst to STARZ, by at least 2015 (and potentially earlier), MGM began granting licenses to the STARZ-exclusive Pictures to other competing content services during the very time periods in which STARZ had the exclusive rights. By its own admission, MGM licensed over 32% of the Pictures in the Library Agreements to competing services, in violation of STARZ’s exclusive rights to those movies. Although MGM has admitted to the breach generally, it is not yet confirmed how many platforms licensed Pictures from MGM. STARZ’s own investigation has revealed that over 150 titles have been breached, with some breaches occurring on MGM’s own network, Epix, which competes with STARZ.”

Talks between the two companies reportedly began in August after Starz said it discovered Bill & Ted was available on Amazon for streaming. MGM allegedly claims it had just become aware of 136 movies and 108 TV series episodes that violated the agreement, but Starz says it discovered nearly 100 more movies in breach.

“The lawsuit is a transparent effort by Starz to use litigation to deflect attention away from its own competitive shortcomings,” MGM responded. “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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Starz is suing MGM for violating its exclusive licensing agreement with the premium cable network.

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