TV One is quite angry in this lawsuit, no doubt about it. The damages (injunction, copyright, tortious interference with business relations, unfair competition)they seek, I have discussed extensively. Please see ‘tags’ bar on right side bar. Nevertheless, I will revisit these discussions again as soon as more facts unveil from this lawsuit, in the coming days or weeks ahead.
“TV One is accusing BET Network and MTV of hijacking its exclusive rights to the Essence Music Festival, featuring performances by Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige and others. The ambush is alleged to have happened this summer, and now TV One is taking its competitors to federal court for airing an unauthorized “rogue” broadcast of its show.
In claims made on Friday, TV One details the great expense it allegedly made to secure rights to the Essence Music Festival, an annual event focused on African American music and culture that attracts hundreds of thousands of people each year.
For television rights, TV One says it spent $500,000 in 2010 and $750,000 in 2011. In addition, the network says it spent up to $1.5 million to produce the show.
In late June, just a week before TV One was scheduled to air the 2011 Essence Music Festival, BET televised performances from the previous year. The airing is said to not only have interfered with promoting its coming telecast, but also to have constituted an infringement of its broadcast from the previous year.
BET is claimed to have taken TV One’s 2010 show nearly verbatim except replacing its competitor’s logo with its own. Nevertheless, the BET broadcast contained credits listing the TV One mark and several of its employees, indicating its origin.
TV One says under its contract, it held exclusive rights to exhibit and broadcast the 2010 show until August 29, 2014. In addition, the agreement is said to have barred Essence Productions, the licensor, from allowing other networks targeting African American audiences to exhibit its show.
Despite the contractual restrictions, co-defendant Music World Music, an entertainment company that has partnered with Essence and represents such artists as Beyonce, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, allegedly provided the 2010 TV One program to another company, which then provided it to BET, MTV, and BET’s Centric Network. . .”
THR, Esq. has the full story.
Photo: Essence Festival campaign banner