A New York judge has dismissed Warner Bros.’ lawsuit. Discovery clamped down on the company’s exclusive streaming rights South Park at Max.
Judge Margaret Chan ruled Tuesday that Paramount did not violate any state consumer protection laws, saying the complaint centers on a “private contract dispute” that allegedly resulted in WBD overpaying for certain rights in the $500 million deal and “ not for conduct that has caused harm.” to consumers.” She concluded that Paramount did not engage in what WBD called a “campaign of verbal deception,” which clouded the understanding of who had exclusive rights to the series when it debuted. South Park: Post-Covid And South Park: The Streaming Wars on Paramount+.
Warners sued Paramount, South Park Digital Studios and MTV Entertainment in February, alleging it struck a $500 million licensing deal in 2019 for exclusive streaming rights to its existing library of 23 seasons and 30 new episodes. It was claimed that some of the South Park specials and other related content was diverted to Paramount+ to support its own fledgling streaming platform.
Paramount, in turn, fired back with its own counterclaim for breach of contract, arguing that WBD is claiming violations of terms that were not agreed to in the deal. It sought $52 million in unpaid licensing fees, although the countersuit was dropped last month.
The dismissal of the alleged deceptive practices claim was based on Chan’s finding that Paramount never made false statements in connection with the description of certain practices. South Park specials, which WBD claimed were part of the original package of content it licensed. She pointed to evidence that consumers could discern that Paramount+ was the exclusive home of two South Park films per year, while Max housed the series’ back catalog.
“While Plaintiff may take issue with Defendants’ characterization of Post-COVID Content and Streaming Wars Content as ‘events’ or ‘movies’ as an attempt to circumvent the terms of the 2019 Agreements, literally real Defendants’ public statements not actionable,” Chan wrote.
In addition, Chan rejected a claim that Paramount had not acted in good faith because it overlapped with WBD’s claim for breach of contract. She said they are alleging “the same injuries and damages against the same party.”
WBD still has a fine for breach of contract, tortious interference with the contract and unjust enrichment.