Tuesday, November 1, 2011

TV One Sues BET For Jacking Essence Music Festival TV Program

The two largest networks aimed at African American audiences are feuding, but that's probably nothing new. This time, however, the federal courts are involved. In a lawsuit filed last week, TV One claims BET stole its 2010 program -- "TV One Night Only: Live from the Essence Music Festival" -- then aired it in its entirety on its network knowing full well they had no right to. TV One says it paid Essence Productions $500,000 for exclusive television rights to the 2010 festival's performances, interviews, and behind-the scene shots -- plus, they invested up to $1.5 million to secure the deal. Per that contract, Essence Productions is barred from licensing the program to any of TV One's competitors for a period of four years. But something happened. In the lawsuit, TV One says Mathew Knowles (yes, Beyoncé's father) somehow gained possession of the program then passed it to a third party (Northstar Media) who then gave it to BET, which aired the program on Centric (which is owned by BET) on June 25, 2011. TV One says: "the Infringing Program was identical to the 2010 TV One Program with two exceptions: (1) the TV One Mark was not displayed in the title or opening title graphic; and (2) BET's Centric Network logo was projected on the lower right side of the television screen (the 'Centric Network Bug'). However, identical to the 2010 TV One Program, the Infringing Program's credits listed the TV One Mark and several TV One Employees." BET was scheduled to re-air the program on July 3, but after TV One's lawyers sent the network a letter, BET pulled the program. In the legal filing (which you can read below), TV One is suing BET Networks, TV Black Entertainment Television LLC, MTV Networks, Northstar Media, its president Pat McDonald, and Music World Music and its president and CEO Mathew Knowles for copyright infringement, violation of California Business and Professions Code, tortious interference with prospective business advantage and unjust enrichment. TV One is seeking an unspecified amount in damages, but we can only imagine it's a whole lotta cash.

source: Courthouse News
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