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Starz sues Disney over iTunes downloads

post #1 of 44
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Liberty Media Holding Corp.'s Starz Entertainment cable network said Thursday it is suing a unit of Walt Disney Co. for allowing other movie download services to sell titles while they were exclusively licensed to Starz.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, was brought by Starz against Disney's Buena Vista Television, according to Reuters.

In recent months Disney has signed deals to sell movies on Apple Inc's iTunes online store and Wal-Mart Inc.'s new movie download site.

The lawsuit claims that 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. Retuers reports that Starz, under the terms of its deal, also has the right to offer the films on its subscription Internet download service, Vongo.

Last month Disney said it sold over 1.3 million movie downloads through iTunes in its first 3 months on the service, putting pressure on other Hollywood studios to join Apples digital download revolution.
post #2 of 44
hmmmm. Starz has a dowloading supscription based model... itunes is a buy it download model. What do you bet that Starz doesn't have that one covered in their agreement? It would be stupid of Disney to break a deal like that... Eisner is gone, so no more stupidity at the helm...
post #3 of 44
well that sucks
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post #4 of 44
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Originally Posted by studiomusic View Post

hmmmm. Starz has a dowloading supscription based model... itunes is a buy it download model. What do you bet that Starz doesn't have that one covered in their agreement? It would be stupid of Disney to break a deal like that... Eisner is gone, so no more stupidity at the helm...

Here's hoping you are correct
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post #5 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by studiomusic View Post

hmmmm. Starz has a dowloading supscription based model... itunes is a buy it download model. What do you bet that Starz doesn't have that one covered in their agreement? It would be stupid of Disney to break a deal like that... Eisner is gone, so no more stupidity at the helm...

Good point, but how exclusive IS exclusive. Depending on who's talking, IS can have a different meaning.
post #6 of 44
I agree, iTunes is selling content just as Amazon does. Don't see how Starz could sue Disney for that?
How stupid is Disney anyway wouldn't their lawyers have said something?
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post #7 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

I agree, iTunes is selling content just as Amazon does. Don't see how Starz could sue Disney for that?
How stupid is Disney anyway wouldn't their lawyers have said something?

I probably does come down to the definition of 'transmission'. Just my guess.
post #8 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by crees! View Post

Good point, but how exclusive IS exclusive. Depending on who's talking, IS can have a different meaning.

Well, that depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is.
post #9 of 44
The iTunes + Disney deal was announced ages ago. They could have easily put a stop to it in the early days, but they wanted to see how much money it would make so that they could claim that amount in "damages".

As a sidenote, I've never heard of Starz before, which makes me wonder whether their $1bn investment was worthwhile.
post #10 of 44
Starz is one of the major premium cable movie channels. At least here in the States.
post #11 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alias789 View Post

Starz is one of the major premium cable movie channels. At least here in the States.

Yes Starz is like Showtime. However, since when does subscription over Satellite and Cable networks include buy to own via streaming over tcp/ip networks?
post #12 of 44
This seems to me to be making iTunes out as licensing the movies for broadcasting, but instead of a transmission over the airwaves, it's a quote "transmission over the internet". And I'm sure those were the exact words used in their agreement. But a download from iTunes may technically be a transmission, but it's not a broadcast.

A subscription based service like Vongo "over the internet" is as much of a download as your dish downloading movies from Starz. Downloading to own is quite different, it's basically like buying a DVD

They're just picking apart at words and ignoring the intent of the contract. Hopefully the judge will see right through this. Case dismissed.
post #13 of 44
If I'm paying for a exclusive title, why would it matter how it's delivered. If the contract included "transmission" type then ok, but if not, a contract has been brokern.
post #14 of 44
BTW - They're also suing Walmart for it's new download service. That wasn't mentioned in the article.
post #15 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by studiomusic View Post

Eisner is gone, so no more stupidity at the helm...

Except for the fact that they are still making sequels and trequels (I know not a word) of all their classics....
post #16 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackSummerNight View Post

If I'm paying for a exclusive title, why would it matter how it's delivered. If the contract included "transmission" type then ok, but if not, a contract has been brokern.

With that kind of logic, 'no matter how it's delivered' would mean no more physical distribution as well. Sounds to me like the lawyers did not do a very good job reading over those contracts.
post #17 of 44
The lawsuit has nothing to do with physical distribution. RTFA.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feynman View Post

With that kind of logic, 'no matter how it's delivered' would mean no more physical distribution as well. Sounds to me like the lawyers did not do a very good job reading over those contracts.

"The lawsuit claims that 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."

How is this not a breach of contract.
post #18 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackSummerNight View Post

The lawsuit has nothing to do with physical distribution. RTFA.


"The lawsuit claims that 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."

How is this not a breach of contract.

Um, what?

What the lawsuit claims is different from what the contract actually claims. Clearly, there is a misunderstanding between what Disney believes the contract means and what Starz believes the contract means.

Just because the lawsuit claims breach of contract doesn't mean the contract was breached—it just means Starz believes, or wants the courts to believe, that the contract was breached.

Therefore, as Feynman says, depending on the wording of the contract, the case can go either way.
post #19 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shookster View Post

The iTunes + Disney deal was announced ages ago. They could have easily put a stop to it in the early days, but they wanted to see how much money it would make so that they could claim that amount in "damages".

As a sidenote, I've never heard of Starz before, which makes me wonder whether their $1bn investment was worthwhile.

I'm not sure why you put "damages" is quotation marks. If Starz is right about their exclusivity prohibiting Disney sales through iTunes, the legal damages could be real and substantial.

The fact that Starz waited to see if it had damages is a good thing; you'd rather they run to court over something insignificant?
post #20 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackSummerNight View Post

The lawsuit has nothing to do with physical distribution. RTFA.


"The lawsuit claims that 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."

How is this not a breach of contract.

Courts don't interpret news reports about contracts; courts interpret the actual contracts.

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post #21 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeaPeaJay View Post

This seems to me to be making iTunes out as licensing the movies for broadcasting, but instead of a transmission over the airwaves, it's a quote "transmission over the internet". And I'm sure those were the exact words used in their agreement. But a download from iTunes may technically be a transmission, but it's not a broadcast.

A subscription based service like Vongo "over the internet" is as much of a download as your dish downloading movies from Starz. Downloading to own is quite different, it's basically like buying a DVD

They're just picking apart at words and ignoring the intent of the contract. Hopefully the judge will see right through this. Case dismissed.

There is absolutely no difference between a subscription service 'over the internet' and downloading to own. Both require you to download the file to your computer (as opposed to a streaming model, which is a different kind of transmission, but still involves transmitting a file over the internet to your computer). And its also exactly the same as Starz downloading the movie to your DVR. It gets transmitted and stored on a hard drive for later viewing. Again, the only difference being how long you get to view it for (and this is also different than just turning on starz and watching a movie at 8pm or something).
post #22 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Porchland View Post

I'm not sure why you put "damages" is quotation marks. If Starz is right about their exclusivity prohibiting Disney sales through iTunes, the legal damages could be real and substantial.

The fact that Starz waited to see if it had damages is a good thing; you'd rather they run to court over something insignificant?

No, because had they acted promptly, they could have sought an injunction and prevented any damages before the movies were even sold on the iTS.

Instead, they chose to wait in order to milk the damages.
post #23 of 44
If i were born yesterday, how is today my birthday. I see you're a real sharp fellow. Here's your asshat.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Porchland View Post

Courts don't interpret news reports about contracts; courts interpret the actual contracts.

I gather you were born yesterday, so happy birthday!

So no one on these board have seen the real contact, we all are talking out the side of our neck.
post #24 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregmightdothat View Post

No, because had they acted promptly, they could have sought an injunction and prevented any damages before the movies were even sold on the iTS.

Instead, they chose to wait in order to milk the damages.

Which is why that Cisco lawsuit on the iphone name was so weird. You'd think they would've waited...
post #25 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feynman View Post

Except for the fact that they are still making sequels and trequels (I know not a word) of all their classics....

I think Steve Jobs calls them "cheapquels"... clever.
post #26 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louzer View Post

Which is why that Cisco lawsuit on the iphone name was so weird. You'd think they would've waited...

You can't legally wait, particularly not with trademark issues. If you're not actively protecting your mark, you lose it.
post #27 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

I agree, iTunes is selling content just as Amazon does. Don't see how Starz could sue Disney for that?
How stupid is Disney anyway wouldn't their lawyers have said something?

I wonder. With the churn rate at some of these corporations, I doubt there would always be someone in legal who would be familiar with the terms of every single agreement.

These kinds of deals would best be tracked with artificial intelligence at some point in the future. These long term contracts outlast individual employment terms.

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post #28 of 44
Yeah Starz disney completely forgot about the agreement. They're that stupid. You've already won the case. Good luck with that, douche.
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post #29 of 44
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Originally Posted by ecking View Post

Yeah Starz disney completely forgot about the agreement. They're that stupid. You've already won the case. Good luck with that, douche.

When I was working with Disney a couple of years ago, they were axing people left and right without regard to who would continue their projects. It was pretty bad.

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post #30 of 44
Nothing like a good lawsuit to clear up any mis-interpretation by any company.
post #31 of 44
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Originally Posted by Alias789 View Post

Starz is one of the major premium cable movie channels. At least here in the States.

Is a cable channel like HBO and Cinemax
post #32 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackSummerNight View Post

The lawsuit has nothing to do with physical distribution. RTFA.


"The lawsuit claims that 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."

How is this not a breach of contract.

Disney unlike Startz does not stream the movie, it simply copies one file to another file, similar to an FTP. Not that different from puting a dvd in a box, in a truck and ship it to the customer direct. Does this makes a difference?

Startz moves a stream of data whose purpose is inmidiate display on the TV during play back which the user can pause, rewind, and play again, therefore influenzing/controlling the stream.

Sounds different to me
post #33 of 44
Obviously, I do not know the particular legal bla bla. I am sure that there is some contract somewhere that forbids every company to do just about anything at any particular time. This is the world we live in. It just seems to me that there are an awful lot of people trying to ride the Apple gravy train. I also see a lot of old media types scared to death. For them, the Grim Reaper is SJ. They have put their entire weight into trying to roll back the hands of time. They know that their time is almost ended and they are not going out without a fight. They have tried to beat Apple in the market place and they can't even put up a decent fight in that arena. The only thing left for them is to try and win in court what they can't win in the marketplace. Almost every lawsuit in the tech sector I have followed recently comes down to that. It is so bad, there are now companies that do nothing but buy patents and sue for infringement. I despise these parasites. I despise old media. As a consumer, I will do everything in my power to hasten their demise. My position has nothing to do with being an Apple fan boy. I really do not like SJ, but I like parasitical hypocrites even less. RIAA, MPAA; the bell tolls for thee.
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post #34 of 44
This is one place where the Internet blurs boundaries that were previously clear. Whereas a cable/sat channel was clearly different from a DVD, the internet version of both have more similarities than differences, at least on a conceptual level. From a user's point of view, the main difference between video on demand and an iTunes download is that one is time-limited, the other is not.

I don't really trust this article enough to form an opinion. If it goes to trial and there is a judgement made, then the judgment will depend on the actual words in the contract and the legal interpretation of said contract. As the contract is probably not available to the public right now, and that it might be kept confidential even during a trial, we won't know until there is a released judgment.

If the word transmission was used with respect with Internet, then Disney might be hosed, because sending a signal of any kind is technically a transmission in engineering terms. It could be analog, digital, wired, wireless, point to point, point to multipoint, stream, packet, it doesn't even matter if the final result is a file, it got there by a network transmission. Whether the legal definition of transmission is the same is another question.
post #35 of 44
This is bogus.

Apple merely a distributor of sellable media. It is no different than Best Buy selling Pirates on DVD. IMO Starz doesn't have a leg to stand on.

 

 

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post #36 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louzer View Post

There is absolutely no difference between a subscription service 'over the internet' and downloading to own. Both require you to download the file to your computer (as opposed to a streaming model, which is a different kind of transmission, but still involves transmitting a file over the internet to your computer). And its also exactly the same as Starz downloading the movie to your DVR. It gets transmitted and stored on a hard drive for later viewing. Again, the only difference being how long you get to view it for (and this is also different than just turning on starz and watching a movie at 8pm or something).

There's a huge difference which you made mention of. How long you get to view it for. We're talking about a license that you buy "over the internet". The subscription license is far different from a license to own. Any license which lets you keep the downloaded content for the rest of your life clearly falls into a different category than a subscription based license. The only question is: what type of license is the contract referring to? It's all speculation unless we know that.
post #37 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by emig647 View Post

This is bogus.

Apple merely a distributor of sellable media. It is no different than Best Buy selling Pirates on DVD. IMO Starz doesn't have a leg to stand on.

This is purely a contract matter. You may very well be right, but if you haven't read it you're talking out your a@@.
post #38 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackSummerNight View Post

If i were born yesterday, how is today my birthday. I see you're a real sharp fellow. Here's your asshat.

So no one on these board have seen the real contact, we all are talking out the side of our neck.

Reread the post, netdork, then reread yours. You made my point.
post #39 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Porchland View Post

Reread the post, netdork

That sort of personal attack / abusive talk is poor netiquette.
post #40 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by EagerDragon View Post

Disney unlike Startz does not stream the movie, it simply copies one file to another file, similar to an FTP. Not that different from puting a dvd in a box, in a truck and ship it to the customer direct. Does this makes a difference?

Startz moves a stream of data whose purpose is inmidiate display on the TV during play back which the user can pause, rewind, and play again, therefore influenzing/controlling the stream.

Sounds different to me

Sorry, but that's not all they do. Starz also has a service to have movies downloaded to your cable/satellite DVR and store the content for later viewing. Its Starz On demand, or something like that. So this is transmitting the movie for later viewing. The same thing that iTunes let's you do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeaPeaJay View Post

There's a huge difference which you made mention of. How long you get to view it for. We're talking about a license that you buy "over the internet". The subscription license is far different from a license to own. Any license which lets you keep the downloaded content for the rest of your life clearly falls into a different category than a subscription based license. The only question is: what type of license is the contract referring to? It's all speculation unless we know that.

It doesn't matter. They state that they have exclusive rights to internet transmission. It don't matter if they're selling it or renting it or streaming it. If its over the internet, its their exclusive right. (Of course, that assumes that's what the contract ACTUALLY says).
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