Paramount Global recently filed a $50 million-plus countersuit against Warner Bros. Discovery in a legal dispute over licensing rights to South Park, Deadline shares. This comes after Warner Bros. Discovery sued Paramount, South Park Digital Studios, and MTV Entertainment Studios in February over a 2019 licensing deal, alleging that Paramount breached the contract by propping up Paramount+ and limiting Warner Bros. Discovery’s streaming rights.
In its counterclaim, Paramount argues that Warner Bros. Discovery has breached the term sheet and is withholding $225+ million in license fees owed for the rest of the five-year term. The company is seeking a declaratory judgment confirming the parties’ rights and obligations under the term sheet, as well as the recovery of all unpaid license fees amounting to more than $52 million to date.
Paramount also filed a partial motion to dismiss, requesting the court to toss two claims made by Warner Bros. Discovery: deceptive practices and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The former ended up getting dismissed as it requires harm to consumers, and the latter ended up getting labeled as duplicative of the breach of contract claim.
The legal dispute revolves around Warner Bros. Discovery’s allegation that it paid over $500 million for exclusive streaming rights to the existing 23-season South Park library and 30 new episodes, and that this pact got breached. Paramount denies the claim and is pushing back with its own counterclaims. A hearing date has yet to be set, but Paramount is asking for June 30 or as soon as possible after.
South Park is a popular animated series created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and running for over two decades now. The dispute between the two media giants highlights the competitive nature of the streaming market, with companies vying for exclusive rights to popular content in order to attract and retain subscribers.
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